Monday, December 07, 2009

Meet Pebbles

Ah, little girls. Aren't they precious? I love the duality of them - dressed in pink, wearing a tiara, and ready to kick some Almighty Ass. I was surprised by the ferocity of my daughter, coming as she did after her big-hearted, gentle brother.

A short illustration of Pebbles at two: (she was always an Old Soul)
There is an altercation in BamBam's room. There are raised voices, then an extended, squalling screech and the sound of a door slamming. Pebbles' footsteps approach, to where I am peeling potatoes in the kitchen.
"BamBam won't share his Lego."
"Oh really? Did you ask nicely and say please?"
She heaves a dramatic sigh, and turns to go back down the hall. "Fine, I'll see if that works."

At three:
"Mom, I hurt my hand."
It looks fine to me, the knuckles are maybe a little red. I gather her to me, and lovingly inquire, "What happened, Sweetie?"
"I bumped it on BamBam's face."

And later that day...
BamBam comes to me, his hand on his throat. He's been coughing, and his eyes are watering.
"Mom, Pebbles just kicked me in the throat."
She comes around the corner to the kitchen, eyes wide, fiddling with a stuffed bear. "What? I was just showing him the bottom of my foot."

And last night a the supper table?
"...and then we found the Ghost king's hiding spot from on the map BamBam made, and after we beat him, we fought the Monster king, and now we're going to - "
"Dance with the Snow Fairies? Sing with the Mermaid princesses?"
"What? No, we're going to fight the ZOMBIE king...until he's DEAD!"
"Oh. Wow."

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Oh, the humanity!

Lunch today was supposed to be tossed garden salad with pecans, white cheddar and raspberry viniagrette dressing, but I'm just not feeling all that. Instead, I am eating a freezer-burned pizza pocket, soggy on one side, and warm Crystal Lite. It's a little bit gross. I am happy. No, I have no idea what is the matter with me. I am not a person who always makes sense.

And this has me thinking about characters, and motivation. And the Laura Secord Toffee Crunch chocolate bar in my purse.

One of the things that distinguishes decent writing from really good writing, for me, is this simple thing. The ways that humanity is revealed in a character, by the simple admission that people don't always make sense. The book that most comes to mind here is the Poisonwood Bible. It's full of people I adored, and I just wanted to shake some of them. I felt so much, because I could see what they could not: their mistakes, misconceptions, flaws, blind spots.

This is a skill I would very much like to master.

But first, chocolate!