Saturday, September 12, 2009
My kids all fell asleep in the living room last night in a big heap of end-of-the-summer-exhaustion. The boys have to be out the door at 7 am which, after long afternoons of summer slumber, is like the middle of the night to them.
Emma has to take "orders" from people who "are only taller, not any smarter" than kids. (Yes, that's how she put it)
I actually got almost, not quite, but almost caught up with the wash and I had all my papers in order when I got to campus. I even had on matching clothes and earrings. I hope my students don't get too used to that.
And I'm starting a new novel. I keep saying that, but I keep changing the way it opens. I think the problem was the voice just didn't sound authentic to me. I put books in the heap after about three pages if the voice doesn't hook me. Kids do, too.
That being said, here is a sampling of real voices from my kids on the first day of school. Voice really is character.
When I asked Christopher, he said, "Mom, everything is all good." He pushed the rest of his sandwich into his mouth so he couldn't say anymore then high tailed it to his room.
Philip reminded me, "He knows if he tells you too much, you'll call the school or something." When I asked Philip which of his teachers he liked, he smirked and said, "Mom, no one likes teachers. They're not likeable; they're just all control freaks.You tolerate teachers; you don't like them."
Right. I forgot.
Emma had the most descriptive assessment of the first couple of days. Her "friend" L. got a new haircut so now she looks like a "fuzzy pumpkin." I put friend in quotes because L. is one of those people we talk to, but never truly befriend. I should say that L. sees ghosts, carries tarot cards, and could use a little help in the hygiene department. She came over once, and Emma decided she needed to remain a school friend.
Anyway, L. informed Emma that the bathroom in their classroom was haunted. Not only did several ghosts inhabit it, but the janitor is somehow involved in maintaining the ghosts' secrecy. (I felt a little guilty when she was explaining all this; I couldn't help but see the huge difference in the YA mind and the MG mind)
All day, Emma and L. listened to toilets flush when no one was in there, lights blinked, faucets ran and there is a low creaking sound which is, of course, how the ghosts speak to one another.
"Could it be the water running in the pipes?" I asked, "the school is pretty old."
"It's not water," she explained (barely hiding the exasperation in her voice), "water sounds wet. This is more like wind."
"So how is everything else?"
"I almost fell asleep during history. What's the point in learning about the colonies? Aren't all those people dead?"
"Maybe they're the ghosts," I suggested.
She looked at me for a second. "No, I don't think so. That would be interesting. And there's nothing interesting about school."
So much for the first three days...