How the sun came to be in the sky*

 

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Once upon a time the sun ran along the ground on two legs. It could run very fast, but not as fast as the birds above it flew. Every day the sun would look up at the sky and wish to fly and be fast. After many years of running on the ground, the sun got an idea. It knew how it could fly! Near where it lived lay a great, big canyon as wide as it was deep. The chasm filled with birds that dove down out of the sky to soar in the sky in the ground.

So, one day, the sun put on a bright yellow shirt with long orange streamers on the arms, and a pair of red pants. Dressed in an outfit sure to compete with the beauty of the birds when it finally did fly; the sun ran fast – faster than it ever had – and at the edge of the canyon, it jumped. The sun flew into the air and kept going…and going…and going, never stopping.

That is why the sun is in the sky. It still has not landed.


*written for a make-believe school assignment when playing school with my 7 year old

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Hooray for book lights!

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Got these two little beauties with a Barnes and Noble gift card by daughter got me for my birthday. Now I can lay in bed and read while my wife sleeps, rather than sit up on an uncomfortable couch.

Great book so far too.

Summer Vacation (for the daughter)

Great vacation photo by Flickr user: kalexanderson https://flic.kr/p/a276pY

Great vacation photo by Flickr user: kalexanderson
https://flic.kr/p/a276pY

First day of summer vacation! Hooray (that’s my daughter yelling that)!

The first few hours after school let out were a fantastic start to summer vacation; reading books and eating cookies at Barnes and Noble, then swimming in pouring rain and then cartoons. Everyday should be reading books, eating cookies, and swimming. That’d be the life. Quick, someone bequeath a few tens of millions of dollars to me. You’ll get a shout out on Twitter and this blog if you do. How’s that for thanks?

But we need a schedule even if someone gave me tens of millions. Don’t let that stop you from giving me that money. She needs to learn how to ride a bike with no training wheels and these dogs need training. We gave the cats wet food last night and one of the dogs, Ariel, followed us into the room we feed the cats in, as if we were walking around with dog food. She did walk out, but then walked back in and ate the food two seconds after I got out of her line of sight.

Schedules can be hard to figure out, and my personality resists schedules, but my daughter is like her mom, my wife, they love schedules. They can be hard, but I think I got it figured out and in a way that will still make it feel like summer vacation should feel. Just gotta figure out how to slip in some writing time during the day, that’s gonna be the hard part.

Pirates of the Caribbean

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My five year old daughter finished watching this movie earlier this week. At the end she turned to me and said, “That was a fun movie.”

I’ve seen the movie like ten times and have always had a hard time explaining why I like it so much. She sees it once and sums up the feeling I’ve had for 11 years (yeah, it came out in 2003).

I so love that girl. Nearly everything is straight and too the point, no beating around the bush. Since she began talking, I’ve realized we adults complicate the trivial, way too often. Or I’m really bad at describing why I like a movie.

I love that kid

While painting Christmas ornaments this morning, yep it’s that time of year, my daughter casually asks, “Is your book awesome?” And continues painting.

Some people think it is.

Legos are amazing

How a story works

How a story works

Legos. Using Legos I figured out why people like some books and don’t like others (even if the quality of writing is the same), and why my agent fell in love with my first book; the reason I somehow stumbled across while writing that book.

Yesterday I was explaining to my daughter how a synopsis I wrote for my agent had been nagging me. It was missing something and it took me two days to figure it out.

“My synopsis is on rails”, I told her and then explained what “on rails” means (she’s 5) and what a good book should be like.

If you go from Point A to Point B it gets boring. But if along the way the protagonist…

Oh my God that’s crazy! Oh no! How will they ever get through it…Oh my that was unexpected, now hopefully they will get to the end resolution…Oh no! Not again! I didn’t see that coming. How?…Oh my, another thing unexpected. Hopefully she (or he) will make it just fine now. Poor them…Are you kidding me? This poor person. Nothing is going right for them…Ha! That is awesome…Now will they get to the end?…Whew! They got there.

I think a lot of authors get caught up on the “on rails” plot and simply do not recognize it. You write the outline too fast or you throw in a twist, but because you’re caught up in the “hero” coming out on top the twist is inconsequential and could be taken out of the book without effecting it. And then the book ends up with the hero getting punched twice but never getting a bloody lip and winning (those are analogies, I know not all books are about fist fights, etc).

Your hero should get their arm broken, then lose a finger, then stabbed in the eye with a long skewer, then lose a friend, then their foot chopped off, then their allies turn against them, their jaw broken, but finally winning out and learning a little bit about themselves along the way. (again an analogy for the conflict that needs to be present in a book, I know not all books will be so violent).

I don’t know why it took me so long to figure that out, but thank God for Legos and thank God infinitely¬†more for a little girl who loves listening to her daddy talk.

Getting old

I’m getting old or maybe I’m not in the great shape I thought I was. I damn near tore a ligament in my left elbow carrying my daughter a block. She skinned her knee (she’s 5 years old) while walking the dogs, so I had to carry her in one arm and walk the insanely hyper four month old puppies with my other. Thank God it was only a block, I’m pretty sure I would have torn something if it was further.