Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Just for fun...

Just for the fun of it, my favorite vacation quotes so far:

Me to Isaac: "Stop licking your brother."

Aaron to Isaac: "Take that garbage out of your mouth and eat your french fries."

Isaac to me: "I want to be your mommy now. Go to bed! Your driving me crazy!"

Isaac to Judah: "I love you bippy baby."

Judah: "Da-da." "Wow!" "Ma-ma." (His first words!)

At the zoo. Isaac to me: "Did someone bite that tiger's tail off?" Me to Isaac: "Of course not." Zookeeper, a moment later: "A few years ago the tiger got too close to the panther cage and the panther bit off his tail and ate it." Oops.

Grandpa to Isaac: "What are the mountains made of?" Isaac to Grandpa: "Mountains are made of mountains. Duh."

Vacation rocks. What else is there to say?

Sunday, July 15, 2007


It's not like I blog daily, but just so you know, I am officially in vacation mode. We leave for British Columbia tomorrow morning and we won't be back for TWO WEEKS. Hooray! That's two weeks of hanging with family and friends, fishing, hiking, bumming it at the beach... Ooohhh, I get tingles just thinking about it. No computer, no writing, and, consequently, no blogging.

Adios. Have a wonderful two weeks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wickedly Misunderstood

I think I spend about as much time every day reading as I do eating. No, I bet I spend more time reading--my meals often consist of the few bites that I can squeeze in while spoon-feeding my baby and making never-ending adjustments to my older son’s habitually imperfect meals. Toddlers are such picky eaters. Anyway, I actually consider each book that I read an important component in my growth as a writer. Not that I aspire to be a copycat, quite the opposite, but reading good writing inspires me. It gives me fresh perspective, enhances my own creativity, and forces me to look at the world with a new set of eyes. I love reading for a million and one reasons.

Yesterday I finished reading Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. It’s one of those books that has been on my reading list for, quite literally, years. I secretly adore all things magical (shhhhh, don’t tell anyone), and I knew long before I ever picked up the book that I would be swept away by Maguire’s rendition of Oz. And I was. It was a wonderful, exciting, spellbinding, impossible-to-put-down book. It was also incredibly thought provoking.

Before I read the book, numerous people told me that Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) would become my favorite heroine. They called her “brilliant, interesting, and fun.” One person assured me that Elphaba was “deliciously wicked.” Okay, brilliant and interesting, yes. But fun? And wicked? I don’t think so…

Though much of the book deals with the nature of evil (it’s a power, an infection, a metaphysical reality, an appetite, an act…), I found Elphaba to be far less wicked than simply misunderstood. Misunderstood by her parents, her superiors, her peers, and, ultimately, her audience of readers. Heroine? The Witch herself would positively abhor being called such a thing. So who is she? I think Elphaba attempts to define herself--at one point near the end of the story she comes clean with her interpretation of evil: it is, above all, a secret. Unknowable, indefinable, nebulous. Just like Elphaba.

While Wicked stirred my imagination and got me thinking about all manner of good and evil, right and wrong, justice and injustice, it also made me wonder about the relationship between writer and reader. It made me realize again that any character I create will be read by a different set of eyes each time my book is opened. That work of fiction, that person I’ve shaped and formed and trapped on paper, will be defined a hundred different ways. She’ll be picked apart, analyzed, and discarded. Or embraced. Who knows? But what if, above all, she is misunderstood?

Will it bug me if people don’t get her? Will I be frustrated if I feel like some readers have completely missed the point? Or is it enough to know that people are thinking about her, even if their conclusions are not what I intended them to be? After all, I suppose beauty (or evil or value or goodness or anything at all) is in the eye of the beholder. How can I expect my character to fall on everyone the same?

And who knows, maybe Gregory Maguire would chuckle at my interpretation of Elphaba. Maybe I have it all wrong and the Wicked Witch of the West was exactly that: a deliciously wicked heroine.

Too bad. I loved her as the antithesis. The misunderstood.

Monday, July 2, 2007

What I've Been Up To...

I haven't blogged in a while so I figured I'd better excuse my absence a bit. I promise I haven't just been twiddling my thumbs. So here, the top five things I've been up to in the last couple of weeks:

1. Playing the part of wild bull to my son's eager cowboy. My three-year-old has decided that he no longer wants to be a garbage man and he has traded in his grubby work gloves for a pair of spurs. Sadly, this mean mommy won't let him keep a bull in the backyard even if he promises to tie a rope around its neck. Thus, I am bull.

2. Traveling to Denver. I'm sorry to admit that I have never once stepped foot in Colorado before this past weekend. It's nice. A little smoggy and overcast, but nice.

3. Evading jury duty. Okay, I think that's technically a crime. I didn't actually evade jury duty, though I wanted to. Instead, when I called the automated number the night before I was due to appear in court, I found out that the case had already been settled! Yay for me! Except for the fact that this is just the first week of my six-month stint as a potential juror. I'm sure I'll be blogging about my time in court at some point.

4. Setting up a non-profit organization. It's a long story, but when Aaron and I were in Ethiopia picking up our sweet baby son, we met an amazing pastor from Monrovia, Liberia. God has blessed this relationship and we are in the throes of setting up an official way to channel aid to our friend, his congregation, and the orphanages they run. Currently we're setting up a child sponsorship program. I have 20 profiles and pictures of gorgeous children if anyone would like to sponsor a child! More on this later...

5. Enjoying summer. Friday morning golf outings with the family, backyard barbecues on random Tuesday nights, trips to the park, and lazy afternoon hours by the swimming pool... I love summer! Who has time to blog???

Speaking of enjoying summer, I'm outta here. Stop reading this blog and get your butt outside--it's already July!