It’s a new season around here. Fall. Also known as Autumn. Also known as Pumpkin-Freaks-Are- Everywhere-Trying-To-Kill-Me.
They’re watching me…aren’t they? *shiver*
Today, we’re counting down about seasons.
What I Know About Seasons
3. Napping. Something I like about fall is that it’s still warm and sunny enough for street naps and sun-puddle naps. I love a good nap.
2. Next. The next season will be winter. That means jackets (Mmmm. Toasty.)
and boots (*gulp*)
and snow (Yikes! I hope it doesn’t touch my belly!).
1. Halloween. Fall is Halloween time. ‘Nuff said.
What Mom Knows About Seasons
3. 9-Months. Fall means Mom is 9 months into her 12×12 challenge. She could’ve had a baby in all that time. Maybe a book-baby…?
2. Visiting. Back-to-School-Season means Back-to-School-Visits-Season. I’m still not allowed to go along, but I’m getting better at watching and waiting for Mom to come home.
1. Clothes. Sweaters and sweatshirts are warm and cozy and Mom will wear them a lot this season. Ditto boots and jackets. I sure hope Mom can walk better in her boots than I do in mine.
Otherwise, no matter how many book-babies she has, she’ll never even make it to a school visit!
Rules are everywhere. At the park, it’s “No dogs on the track.”
So I get as close as I can without breaking the rule.
Sometimes, Mom flat-out makes up rules in her head like, “Don’t eat the acorns.”
and “Keep out of the mud.”
and “GAH! That stick is too big to carry!”
And her all-time favorite “No sleeping in the street!”
Most days, Mom has rules to follow in her writing. There are word count rules, and the rule of three, the rule of thinking with pictures in your head, and the rule of playing with wonderful words. And then there’s don’t make the book too quiet and don’t hit the kids over the head with a lesson, but do have fabulous characters with their own special voices and do surprise everyone with a twist at the end.
Whew! That’s a LOT of rules…
Mom says, “Rules are important. ” and “The world would be mayhem without rules.” and her other all-time favorite, “Rules are made to be broken!” Wait. What?
OK, then – it’s time for a streetnap!
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
I like lunch. I don’t officially eat lunch, but Mom does. And once in a while she shares it with me. I’m not allowed to beg, but sometimes (every single day), that rule accidentally gets broken and Mom says the word, “No human food” just before she gives me a tiny taste.
I do not believe there is a huge difference between human food and dog food. Yummy and delicious is yummy and delicious, no matter what the container looks like.
Mom likes to use “short, easy words” just like Winnie the Pooh. And most of the time, that’s exactly what she uses when she writes stories AND when she talks to me. She says, “Sit” not “Ensconce yourself”
and “Down” not “Move towards a lower position”
and “Fetch” not “Pick up and deliver.” I understand these small words and they do the job well…. except when they don’t.
In stories, it’s not about the size of the word. It’s more about what the word really says and whether the word needs help from another word to say what it needs to say. This is especially true with verbs, which I think are something like burps. Better to say, “Trudge” than “Walk slowly with head down” and better to say, “Chomp” than “Eat quickly and noisily” and better to say, “Whisper” than “Speak softly in hushed tones.”
So in an effort to keep things short and precise, I would like to say, “Gimme some!”
Mom has to take her time when she makes a story. It’s OK to write it quickly, but then comes the hard work, which is revising, and that part is slow. Fixing the word choices in poems or stories makes the right mood and the right voice and the right feel. In her Lyrical Language Lab Class, Mom learned to look again at every word in a story to make it sound better and flow better without slowing the story down or going off on a tangent.
Sometimes I get off on a tangent when I’m checking my pee-mail.
When I’m sniffing out a message, I will say, “This is from my friend, Mocha.” and “I wish I could jump on his head right now.” and “His mom always says the furs on my head are soft.” and “My squirrel toy is really soft.”
and “I wonder if that laughing monkey toy is out of the toy box waiting for me.”
and “Squirrels look like monkeys running around in the trees.” and “Trees are…..”
And then Mom says, “Let’s go.” and “Let’s GO!” and “LET’S GO!!” Apparently, sniffing the same blade of grass all day is not an option for me.
I am learning to take my time when I eat my dinner. I didn’t learn it in Lyrical Language Lab – it’s because of my new slow-feeder bowl!
This is incredible! Unbelievable! Mind-boggling! Unthinkable! Inconceivable! It’s… it’s…. it’s… Summer School times TWO!
Mom is smack in the middle of Kidlit Summer School…
and all of a sudden on August 1st Lyrical Language Lab started up.
Do you see what’s happening here? She’s studying TWO summer schools at once! Reading stories, writing stories, reading poems, writing poems. It’s out of control!
You’re probably wondering what I’m doing while all this reading and writing and writing and reading is going on. Nuthin’ that’s what.
I just wait…
For a whole HOUR – which feels like 2 hours or 8 hours or 67 hours. Ugh! Thank goodness Mom still sets the clock for her writing time, so when her iPad chimes, she can play with me again.
Anybody want to throw the squeaky corn on the cob toy? Anybody…?
After what seems like 975 hours, we finally get to walk around outside, go to the park…
and on Saturday (AFTER summer school), we even went to work at the Veteran’s Home so I could see all my old soldier friends and make them smile.
Mom says, “I’m learning a lot.” and “School is fun.” and I say, “When the heck is summer VACATION!!??”
Every first draft is perfect because all a first draft has to do is exist.
Mom said the word, “Thank God!” about this quote. In her 12×12 in 2014 challenge, Mom writes a new first draft every month. So far she is keeping up, staying ahead, and getting it done.
She says, “This is cute.” and “Almost finished.” and “It needs some work, but that’s for another time.”
Recently, Mom took me to the bagel cafe to have breakfast at the outdoor patio.
Last summer, we tried this, but I went berserk. I kept trying to pull Mom’s arm out of the socket and kiss the waitress, I was afraid of a motorcycle zooming past and people window shopping across the street, and instead of drinking from the water dish they gave me, I sat in it.
This time, I was better.
I sat on my Park It Mat, watched people and cars go by, and didn’t beg….
…. too much.
Mom said, “You did it.” and “Good job.” and “This still needs some work, but that’s for another time.”
Are you going to finish that….?
Here I am – at the beach!
There’s sand and sun and sand and sand and sun….
And fences and bases and benches and grass. Wait! What? This isn’t the beach. It’s the baseball field at the park.
It sure seemed like the beach, though…. I guess I should’ve asked more questions before I got into the car.
Mom asks her characters questions when she’s writing. I know because she asks them out loud. She needs to know their strengths and weaknesses, favorite things and pet peeves, best friends and secret thoughts. Sometimes characters seem perfect for Mom’s story, but then, when she gets to know them better, she cuts them because they just plain don’t work. Sometimes, they fit better in a different story, so Mom moves them. Or saves them for the future. Once in a while, they change the course of the story they’re in, by not behaving the way Mom thought they would. Characters can be tricky like that.
Things are not always what they seem. When I lived in a cage, Mom thought I was too small, too old, too nervous, and just all wrong for her. Turns out, I’m perfect.