Reunions and such

This weekend I didn’t attend my 20th reunion but I did go to a lovely party hosted by a fellow classmate. If you read my blog regularly you know that before the event I was full of healthy anxiety. I didn’t need to worry. Twenty years seems to mellow out people and the cliques in which they were involved. It was interesting to find out what everyone has been doing in their lives. There were a lot of people who had gone into teaching, and many involved in politics and production work. A modern twist on an old ritual, everyone passed around their cell phones with pictures of their children on the screen. This made me smile.

The counterpoint to this experience was High School Musical 3. Yes, I was one of those families helping the Disney empire rake in billions this weekend. The movie is everything you’ve come to expect from the franchise. My two boys love the hip hop scenes and there were too few of those. Instead they had to deal with quite a bit of romance and even a … kiss. (GROSS!) This was actually the funniest part of the movie. Troy and Gabriella finally kiss, it is all serious and in the packed theatre we hear a single kid, "Ewwwww" which started a chorus of "Ewwww…" and then all of the parents laughed hysterically because we each thought that it would be our kid to start the chorus.

After the flick, I went into Disney repair mode. I’m a sucker for a sappy Disney flick but I can see the misogyny coming a mile away and always feel required to point it out to the kids. I’d like to have boys who are respectful to whoever it is they choose to like and know that not all girls feel that they’ve "waited their whole lives for prom." That said, coupled with my reunion and my walk down memory lane I think that when I was 15 and 16, I really wanted the East High experience however ridiculous and romantic and absolutely unattainable that is. Maybe these movies and teen mags are so successful because as mature and educated and wordly as they may be, so many teen girls have these expectations. As a writer for children, I  think we have to challenge this assumption but I do wonder. 

I think the biggest discoveries at a reunion is within one’s self. I often remember my high school experience as one of being unwanted. I certainly had my share of unrequited love. I identified myself as having only one or two good friends. Looking back, it is sort of silly actually. I was very involved I was on the crew team, in plays, ran for senior class president…but still I always felt on the outside looking in.  Perhaps this is the angst of high school no matter who you are and how involved you choose to be. Perhaps with the expectations I had, nothing would have been good. Perhaps I just need some therapy.

Five on Friday

 1. I am almost done with my freelance articles for the month and they are due next Wednesday. I thought they were due today. Isn’t it nice when you find a little breathing room?
2. I am going to a party tonight thrown by a woman I knew in HS. Tomorrow is my 20th reunion. ($200 per couple) I’m not going to that but I am going to this before party (donation to support elementary baseball, I can do that). I’m going to see a bunch of people who have recently become my friend on facebook. Isn’t it funny how cyberfriendships grow easier than real-time friendships?
3. So I’m kinda freakin’ out about this and went into a tizzy of doing laundry at 6:45 this morning so I’d be sure to have the right thing to wear. ACK! I already sound like I’m in High School again. Maybe I can at least get some research out of this.
4. Saturday, I get to see my good buddy Jen, we’re meeting for breakfast. Then I’m going to the homecoming football game which actually sounds fun to me.
5. The personal trainer at the gym must think that I’m way stronger than I am ’cause the workout she made for me is wicked hard. I guess I’ll need the strong back and arms to finish my novel. 

Twelve Blessings on a Wednesday

I do not want to complain this morning so instead I will count my blessings and then get to work.

  1. The whether is chilly and lovely. 
  2. My sons are happy.
  3. My hubby is a lovely caring man and I’m lucky to have him.
  4. We all have our health.
  5. Hubby and I both have jobs and healthcare.
  6. We live in a country that allows a voice for everyone over 18 and allows for dissent.
  7. I’m part of a wonderful community of writers who try to give voice to those under 18.
  8. I am able to write for my work.
  9. I know how to look at the world as an artist even if I’ve not been doing my art recently.
  10. My agent is excited about a PB manuscript I sent him and is going to start making some calls about it.
  11. My family is near by.
  12. I am educated and connected. 

Tomorrow I might complain…


 So here I am at my computer, dutifully printing out the contracts for the workshop presenters for 2009. I took the old contract used it as a template and inserted the new info. Around number 20 I’m getting into the swing of things and I realize that there are two or three times where I left 2008 as is. Well, the kids have a new bunch of drawing paper now and I’m starting over.

A Poetry Friday Post on Sunday

 I’m a little behind on my postings. I wanted to tell you all about my visit to Newport, RI last weekend and the amazing group of volunteers at the workshop committee meeting, how thoughtful and considerate everyone was. This is not that post. This post really should be on Friday (as in Poetry Friday) but I’m posting it now because I have time. 

A scene from my home on Thursday last:

E: Mommy. I was on the bus and I made a poem. 
Me: Do you remember it? I’d love to hear it. 
E: Uh-huh. Red, blue, yellow, green, my favorite colors, especially green. 
E: But green isn’t my favorite color.
Me: Right, I thought it was purple, has that changed?
E: No. 
Me: What do you want your reader to feel when they read or hear that poem.
E: I don’t know.
Me: I think you have a really good first draft. Sometimes, that’s the hardest part, getting past the white paper and writing down an idea. Remember when I came into your class we talked about creating a picture for the audience with words.
E: We used your toolbox.
Me: Right, metaphors and similes. But how do those colors make you feel. Close your eyes. What do you feel or see when I say red?
E: Hot. 
Me: What about blue?
E: (Closing eyes) Blue is like a cool breeze at the ocean.
Me: E. that’s beautiful, and it’s a simile. You’re using the tool box. 
E: (excited) I’m going to do it again, I’ll be back.

The new poem…by E.C. Boll, reprinted with permission.

blue like a cool breeze at the ocean
red on a hot summer day
yellow like a sandy park
green like morning dew
purple like the sky at sunset
the best of all

Edits we can believe in…

 I’m actually sharing this Obama video for a writer reason. About 2/3 of the way through, Senator Obama is sitting with the speech writer making edits. Before the camera goes into the room, we see a sign that says Edits Changes we can believe in. I thought you all would appreciate that. The family interactions are also so sweet.
Watch the video…

Atonement: please pass the mashed potatoes

Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish high holy day of atonement. This means that I’ve been fasting all day and thinking about the wrongs I’ve committed throughout the past year. I’ve also been thinking of how I can make myself a better person and the world a better place. I went to services with my children. It was the first time we went to the synagogue in our new town and as in many smaller communities, it isn’t even in our town and required a bit of a hike. The book that they used was wonderful. Developmentally appropriate and focussing on peace and sharing and apologizing because none of us is perfect. It really spoke to me as did the Rabbi who spoke to the kids about laundry as a metaphor for Yom Kippur. Our clothes get dirty and it just happens. Then Yom Kippur (laundry day) comes and we ask for forgiveness. We come out clean and pure, as white as linens flapping in the breeze. We should try to keep our clothes clean but we know that they are bound to get dirty again. That we all make mistakes but we can always ask for forgiveness. 

The sun sets at about 6:30pm today and I haven’t eaten since last night. I’m feeling pale and weak so I’ll take just a moment to atone in public. (At least in cyber space.) I certainly make mistakes.

  1. I yell at my children more than I should and sometimes I’d like to whack their tushies. (Usually an, "I’m so angry I’m going to bite your nose off," gets everyone laughing instead.)
  2. I sometimes speak without thinking which hurts people I love. (I hope you’ve accepted my apology C.)

Recently though, jealousy, has been my undoing. (and at the root of #2) I can only speak for myself but I think that there are probably more than a few of us in this children’s publishing game who have been chugging away for a while watching friends and acquaintances receive their first, second, third… (you get the picture) contracts while we are yet to get our first. It’s hard not to feel that green nibble of envy, the hardness of heart that sneaks like a shadow over an otherwise cheery, supportive countenance. Perhaps it is only me and once again, I’ve spoken without thinking. In this case, please blame the light headedness that comes from lack of food. Or just accept my apology. I’m sorry. Sincerely.