I lived on movies when I was a kid. It was the 80's. Michael J. Fox ruled the teen scene and I could not tell the difference between Helen Hunt and Jodie Foster. John Candy made me laugh and a little Bill Murray went a long way. That's still true.
Recently I started digging up those old movies and attempting to watch them with my youngest. Just the PG ones so why not? Holy cow! It's hard to believe it, but I really am from a different generation. Oh the swearing! Back to the Future, that wonderful, funny, exciting time travel movie with Marty McFly skipped the f-word but that's about it. That doesn't even touch on the big high school bully being far worse than a jerk. Biff, no means no.
So where are we now with family-geared movies? I recently read The Martian and loved the hell out of it. The first line of the book hooked me, the line with the f-bomb so perfectly placed it cracked me up right there in the book section of the grocery store. I couldn't wait for Matt Damon to give me a whole new take on the story because that's how I feel about books to movies. It was good, great even, but it felt watered down. The tempered language annoyed me and stood out as blatant rating chasing. I imagined a school of persnickety old looking ladies who aren't old sitting around a table pointing their fingers at each scene that needs to be cut in order to keep a PG-13 rating. At the same time, I want something my son can watch that won't give him nightmares or rob even a minute of his childhood.
I'm thinking we're fighting the deluge of information we can't control that pummels the kids of today with cherry picked hardships...or we're just holding onto their childhood by our fingernails. I love visiting the movies I couldn't get enough of when I was a kid, but the old line "You can't go home again," sneaks into my thoughts now and again.
Summer! It's almost summer! I think it will go by in a speedy blur of so much play and so many battles. Bet on both because we are a loud emotional bunch. Music will be more important than ever. Here are a few of my favorites from the latest season of The Voice. My apologies to those who don't get the show or watch it, but the songs are neato anyway. Here are just a few that I loved.
I thought I'd start with that since I've been out of touch for months. My writing dream took a hit this winter when I got a new job. Not just because I was too dang tired after work to be creative, but because the new job came with the discovery of a new dream, one that will actually pay me (after a bit of schooling). I kept at the writing (and editing) because I realized writing isn't just a dream, it's part of my soul to see the world and recreate it, retell it, sometimes just keep it for myself until I'm ready to share it. You can have more than one dream, maybe you'll move slower, and success will have to be measured in happiness and not accomplishments, but there is no finish line I'm thinking.
In the meantime, I've been doing the mom gig. Meaning figuring out how to motivate a teenage boy with autism who is in the grips of puberty and sullenness that it is in his best interest to do his school work, not beat up his brother, and lend a kind word to his mother once in a while. Oh he drives me crazy. I asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up and he said, "Live with you." I told him I'd annoy him and he needed to live on his own. "No Mom. You only annoy me some of the time." The kid makes me laugh. He's also a Special Olympics Gold Medal athlete in swimming! He swam his butt off this spring and gets to go to State.
My youngest is on a basketball team and there is nothing cuter than watching a bunch of little kids running around playing basketball. He doesn't race off the court to give me a hug anymore, but he did give me a "What the heck?" look when a kid was defending him by way of holding him in place and then throwing him. The parents next to me were shouting, "Give it back to em!" while I was shouting "Good sportsmanship!" I'm thinking I don't have the sports mom role down. And maybe during practice while I was listening to Mercy Thompson be an awesome coyote on my audiobook and I noticed the coach teaching the kids to fight back when the defense plays street ball, I jumped off the bleachers and told him sportsmanship is primary, it's basketball creedo man! No one rallied behind the creedo bit.
I'm still here folks. I'm working on Anna 4 and a novella from Eric's POV, both beyond the second draft stage. I'll try to hop around blogs and visit with you all. I miss you guys.
Happy holidays! I say this with a bit extra cheer. A couple weeks ago I was feeling pretty sorry for myself while sitting at the longest stoplight known to man. It was pouring. A Christina Perri song was promising that life was big and wonderful and we're all stronger than we think. Through the windshield wipers across the massive intersection danced a bright blur wearing a yellow rain slicker, sweats, and a gym bag. Shake shake shake. The movements kept going as cars drove past. After a minute I started laughing, not at the enthusiastic pedestrian, but in celebration. A black man walked up the sidewalk next to my car and stood on the opposite side of the crosswalk to the dancer. The yellow raincoat person pooped out after another minute but then the man started dancing and just like in a music video about living life no matter what's pressing down on you the two moved to their own beat facing each other on opposite sides of the street. I sat in my car clapping because it was so good. I thought for a second maybe they knew each other, but when the light finally turned green they crossed paths with grins, no hugs or high fives. Strangers, all of us, but I felt that music.
So let's dance ourselves into the next year and sing no matter what comes our way in 2016. I have goals, but that's not new. I could use a few less goals, so maybe that's a new goal of mine, to chill a little. Probably not. No matter.
Before I fangirl over Devil's Snare (my absolute favorite in the Moonsongs series), here's a taste of my first encounter with this story with Blood Fugue...
Jenny does her best to be your typical hostile gaming hermit. Then she opens a seemingly innocuous email. Suddenly she has a living grandfather she believed long dead, commits to doing a favor that involves bullets, and discovers a destiny that will test her tendency to push people away. You can read more of my review here.
Jenny is all sass and toughness as in the girl sports a purple mohawk and feels naked without her tomahawk. But Jenny isn't whole without her best friend Marshal. He's the bee's knees (in designer loafers). They come across some seriously gruesome baddies and they survive with a healthy dose of fear and an even healthier dose of humor. I love them! In Devil's Snare we see through Marshal's eyes at the start, which rocks the planet because Marsh isn't just sitting back being the gay sidekick. In E.J.'s world of monsters, you sink or swim or get eaten. He can write gnarly things that bite. I'm telling you.
After a suspenseful glimpse into what Marshal is going through, we dive into Jenny's precarious situation. Back to the suspenseful glimpse for a second...I was reading my kindle at the window of my favorite coffee place waiting for my drink. In the few minutes it took them to make my white mocha I had sunk so deep into the story that I jumped when the barista reached toward me with my coffee. The writing is that good.
If you haven't started the Moonsongs series, dive in. They're divided up into short novellas E.J. calls episodes. 6 episodes so far and I cannot wait for the next one!
I just realized it's November! It was the spectacular show of color this morning that clued me in. Plus the very unhappy kid raking a mile of yellow on the sidewalk. I smiled huge at the thought of sending my petulant teenager to rake and scoop leaves. My mind jumped from that thought to the first fall I spent in Washington. I was homesick and surrounded by strangers, but the colors fed a part of my soul that has never gone hungry since. There was this one day I was determined to rake leaves just like in the movies. Since I didn't have a lawn because I lived in the dorms I walked and walked looking for some old person who should not be raking leaves in the first place. Apparently, Tacoma is filled with spry elderly because I had not a single taker. So happy fall! Here's to yummy hot coffees and colors that make our hearts sing. And on that note (I'm killing with these puns!), here's my November theme song. It's all about the ukulele (for no good reason).
This week while I measured and cut a thousand times making flashcards for the team I work with a teacher down the hall read a story to his class. Maybe his door was open, probably not. The man can project. But while I counted and cut, I smiled and kept smiling because he was creating memories. He was cementing his presence as a teacher who loves teaching and I cataloged him for my writer shelf alongside my eighth grade math teacher who told my mom not to worry about my grade. "She'll get it."
It got me to thinking about the rest of the memories on my shelves. A hoarder of feelings and senses ready to be dusted off and carefully held in a story of my choosing I sometimes feel like I should come with a disclaimer: I will collect you in some way. Sorry.
By mat Walker from Brighton, UK (Video archive) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
There's this hill at the end of my weekend bridge runs I call John's Hill. My 6 year old told me I can make it up the hill, but I have to think I can. So I named it after him. It's a beast and I am not a graceful runner. My blindingly bright shoes clop. My lungs crush air into this terrible sawing noise I do my best to hush if another runner crosses my path. My undermining thoughts try to convince me I could walk the dang thing faster. Then I remember one word. Grit. I'm running the hill because I decided to. Nothing more is needed. I figure reaching certain dreams are like that too.