Monthly Archives: July 2010

Young Reader Update

Harry Potter continues to take over our house.  The 7 year old can barely take his nose out of it long enough to enjoy a long camping weekend with his dad and his cub scout pack.  Or to spend all day at camp.  And the 4 year old asks to watch the movie every day.  Yes.  Every.  Day.

I am still not tired of it!

The Magic Tree House books are being left on the wayside.  Sigh.  My little boy is growing up.  Next he has set his sights on Percy Jackson.  Good thing each series has 7 books.  That should keep us in boy books for years, especially since I won’t let him read the whole series until he is older.

What books have taken hold in your house?

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Filed under Reading, The rest of my life

French Interpretation

My cousin asked me last week if I would be interested in working for her facility as an occasional translator/interpreter for French-speaking families.  She is a social worker at a facility for adolescents with emotional, psychological and behavioral problems.

First, I remembered some of the stories she has shared about her work, and I thought, I can’t listen to that kind of stuff and translate it and not be emotionally affected by it myself.  It takes a special person to be a social worker, counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist who works with such people and such issues.

Then I remembered the time I had to interpret on camera the atrocities that had occurred at a church in Rwanda.  Yup, on camera.  That was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I hope the people of Michigan coughed up a lot of dough after seeing that report, but I wouldn’t know.  The potential donor and his ABC-affiliate cameraman had me tour them around our trauma center, drive them to the memorial church, house them in our Kigali house/office.  At dinner that night they apologized for putting me through the emotional strain of that church.  But I never heard from them again.  Neither did my Rwanda branch of the organization.

To give you an idea of the “atrocities”, during the genocide hundreds of people sought refuge in this particular church (and others like it across Rwanda).  They were all massacred.  And their remains were left there to serve as a memorial.  Outside the church, tables held skulls of all sizes, protected by blue UN plastic sheeting.  Inside the church, well, I’m going to leave it there.

So my point here is that, I can do this.  I can translate and interpret for French-speaking families whose teenagers are in trouble.  And maybe I’ll find another book idea in it.

When I first started writing, I didn’t think of myself as an issue writer.  But I have always had an overdeveloped conscience.  I can’t write something I am not emotionally connected to.  Hence, Kwizera.  And even Sophie, which on the surface seems like a romantic time-travel romp, has issues of social justice, and personal and religious freedom at its heart.

Will such stories ever get me an agent, book deal, financial success?  Who knows?  [insert Gallic one-shoulder shrug here]  But I will keep writing the stories that speak to me and haunt me and we’ll see what happens.

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Filed under Getting Published, The rest of my life, writing

Watch out for the Flying Light Sabres!

My rising 2nd grader is now reading the first Harry Potter book.  To say his parents are proud is vastly understating.  Not only is this book at least a 5th grade reading level, but we’re HP fans. 

The summer reading program at our local library, however, doesn’t allow for breaking up such a large book into reportable chunks, so he is also reading Magic Tree House books (he’s up to #26).  He especially loved reading about the Revolutionary War and I was excited for him to read about the mountain gorillas in an African cloud forest.  He reads a couple of those each week, does his book reports at the library, and earns prizes.  Then in between, he reads Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

We also borrowed the movie from the library and have now watched it about 8 times in 3 weeks.  He begs me every 3 or 4 days to get the next movie.  I stand firm.  He can’t see movie #2 until he finishes book #1 (and I’d prefer he read book #2 first, too – but I think seeing the movie helps him get through all the details in the book and keeps it all fresh in his mind).

Not surprisingly, everything has become about Harry Potter.  The 7 yo decorated a fan (a prize from the library reading program) with a picture of Harry Potter.  The 4 yo just brought me pictures of Dudley and Vernon Dursley.  He can’t remember their names – he told me the drawings were of Harry’s cousin and his dad. 

The light sabers are now flying broomsticks.  Any stick-like object that can be a magic wand is now a magic wand.  The boys keep trying to find scars on their bodies.  Words like quidditch and wingardium leviosa have become commonplace in our home.  And the boys debate whether the word “lives” is appropriate to describe Nearly Headless Nick’s residence in Gryffindor House.

Good thing we like Harry Potter.

What books and/or movies have invaded your home, your imagination and that of your kids?  Can’t wait to read your comments!

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Filed under The rest of my life

Independence Day

In honor of our nation’s birthday, I declare independence from rejection depression.  So an agent said no.  Big deal.  On to the next one.

I declare independence from feelings of self-doubt.  I must believe in me and my manuscript if I expect anyone else to.  If I’m not good enough yet, then I’ll do more, read more, learn more, write more.

I declare independence from author-envy.  Rather than getting bummed out about someone else’s book deal (or snagging a dream agent), I will make them my role model.  If s/he can do it, then so can I!

Isn’t freedom grand?

What negative feelings do you need to let go of?  Please share in the comments.

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Filed under Getting Published, writing