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Friday, November 30, 2012

I should have named my kid Rorschach!



Warning, I haven’t got a lot of sleep the last few days. My son has decided he must rise before dawn. I find my blog posts tend to be skewed towards peculiar when this happens . . . apologies in advance!

If you didn't know that a Rorschach test is an inkblot test, then you, sir/madam, have seen fewer court mandated psychologists than I have have not read the Watchman comic books.

As we all know, inkblot tests are windows through which psychologists see how much you truly hate puppies, or love Turkish delights, or secretly wish you were a fairy princess. gauge your true desires and motivations. 

Get to the point, Steve, what are you trying to say?

Ah, yes, indeed. . .

I’ve been taking my son to a play group some mornings, and I’m starting to think that “baby-babble,” that adorable nonsense that falls from the mouths of babies and toddlers like unfamiliar food, is a possible replacement Rorschach test for parents.

A bit of background information on my son: he’s 16 months old and doesn’t say a single coherent word. But at these toddler play groups many of the parents insist their kids are speaking full sentences . . . in English.

What’s more, they seem to think that I should understand what my son says, too. So many times I’ve been asked, “What did your son say? I couldn’t quite understand him.” To which I reply, “Huh? You couldn’t quite understand him? Does that mean you understood some of what he said? Should I assume my son learned Farsi when I wasn't looking? Because that’s what it sounded like to me. Sure as heck wasn’t English.”

I don’t have a lot of friends at these playgroups.

I'm no linguist, and maybe I'm not paying enough attention. Maybe there is real meaning behind my son's chatter. But it seems (much like a Rorschach test), what parents “hear” their toddlers say, is really what parents WANT to hear their children say. "What's that, Jimmy? You want to go down for your nap early? You want to watch another hour of Barney and Friends so daddy can get some work done? You want your mom to change your diaper? Ok, okay. If you insist.

Truthfully, I think my kid is just making fun of me. I think he’s saying, “Hey, this is what you sound like when you talk.”

Kind of like this guy:

Clip is of a music video performed in gibberish designed to sound like American English.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lazy "On Writing" Post . . . Achooo!



I wanted to do an "On Writing" blog post today, but my son is sick, and I am feeling it too, so I'm going to be lazy and direct you to a really great blog post about world building. The link will direct you to the fine people at Paper Lantern Literary.  This post is really thoughtful and heaped with great advice for writers.

I shall dig my way out of the mountains of Kleenex in the next day or two . . . or three. I promise!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Glitter and Carrier Pigeons – Need I say more?


 . . . Okay, yes, I’ve been mostly MIA from my blog . . . and from twitter . . . and from facebook . . . you get the idea. But let’s face it, time management has to be one of the hardest things writers contend with (Rejection, though, comes a very close second). When you’re just starting out there are a few things you’re told you simply MUST do if you want to be a writer:
  1. Write books. This one’s true. You simply cannot be a writer if you don’t write.
  2. Depending on your goals, you’ll probably want an agent. That means you must divide your time between writing manuscripts and query letters and hoping one day you’ll snag that elusive beast known as the literary agent. (*Little known fact about literary agents: they prefer query letters sprayed with perfume, dusted with glitter, and delivered by carrier pigeons.)
  3. You must also build your online presence. You must tweet, and blog, and vlog (do people still vlog?), and facebook and chat up people on message boards and book review sites and other blogs, vlogs, and facebook pages. You must be witty and beloved by all those wayward souls who wander into your corner of cyberspace.
  4. Also, and this one’s fairly important, if you don’t want social services to take your children away, you have to pay attention to them too.  Pfft, needy one-year-olds!

I struggled with this for awhile - finding that elusive ballance - but then I realized something that should have been obvious: the most important thing a writer needs to do when they're first starting out is write books. The rest is secondary . . . well, point 4 is pretty important too . . . social services can be real ball-busters!

*Agents might not really like glitter and carrier pigeons . . . I've heard some prefer carrier-falcons.