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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wednesday Whittleings—To Be a Figure in a Wax Museum

Wednesdays are my day to randomly babble. Sometimes about children books, others about writing, and usually about whatever strikes my mind. Random thoughts...random whittleings.

Last night was Wax Museum Night at the school. This is actually one of the activities I find the school does a great job with. It's fun to go every year and see what the kids come up with. 

Each child in the 5th grade draws a famous individual's name out of a hat, does research on the person, and then stands along the wall dressed up as they would have been (or something close). There are paper buttons taped to the wall along with a name tag next to each child. When pushed, the child states who they are, maybe what they did to make them 'famous', and a well-known quote from the person (or thought to be).

It's cute...although most of the kids stand pretty stiff and give off that 'Just let me get this done and out of here' aura. 

My daughter was Cleopatra and seeing all of the bored kids around her, decided to add some life to the whole thing. She did a constant 'Egyptian' dance until someone would press her button. Then, she'd stand still and say her lines. If someone pushed her button repeatedly to irritate her, she'd freeze in a 'dab' pose. 

I don't think Cleopatra ever dabbed. But what do I know?

A few 'figures' down from her stood Jeff Kinney (and for those of you who don't know because I didn't know either....I'm SO bad with names). He's the author of The Wimpy Kid series. First, it struck me odd that he was considered famous enough to stand between Anne Frank and Thomas Jefferson. But who am I to judge?

Then as I pressed the button and listened to the kid mumble some line which I really couldn't hear because he barely opened his mouth,  I thought... Ho. How awful would that be to have my books become so popular one day that some poor kid in some little school would pull my name out of a hat and have to spend an entire 1 and 1/2 hours standing stiff along a wall dressed like me? The kid did look miserable.

Of course, this thought shoots off into a huge realm of probability issues, so I'm not loosing sleep over it yet.

I do wonder what Jeff Kinney would think if he'd been there. 

If the kid would have even cared?

Interestingly enough, Laura Ingalls Wilder was there too, and I didn't spare a second thought on her. But then, that little girl did look cute and smiled too.

The lesson I learned from the whole thing? Either look cute and smile, or dance and dab.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wednesday Whittleings - Writing Research Treats

Wednesdays are my day to randomly babble. Sometimes about children books, others about writing, and usually about whatever strikes my mind. Random thoughts...random whittleings.

I have written 2000 words so far for NaNoWriMo. Most NaNo-writers are leaving me in the dust, but I'm only heading for around 30,000 words, so they can charge ahead. I have a long way to go, but I'm not worried. I'll make it.

My current project is a mystery series for middle graders, which is loosely based on actual crimes. My 'detectives' use various areas of science and technology to uncover the truth and catch those nasty villains. It's not only fun to write (my characters aren't exactly serious and well-behaved kids), but the research is completely drawing me in.

I love research!

For example, I've learned:

1) Exploding carpenter ants build up a toxic slime in their backsides and attack their prey by 'exploding' the poison all over them. This causes a painful death. Unfortunately, an exploding backside is deadly for the ant, and it dies in the process too (like a bee). But this sacrifice can save an entire colony.

2) The US government has spent years of research and an insane amount of funds to develop the stinkiest, most awful, stench bomb ever. They've hoped to use it to send the enemies running...gagging...puking...crying in retreat. This is a very serious program which has studied the world's most terrible odors, tried to capture the molecules that create the horrible stenches, and mix them in a deliciously stinky cocktail. The recipe is classified as top secret because...well, imagine how awful it would be if it were used against us! (Note: This form of weapon does not cause death or serious, long-lasting injuries.)

3) Thanks to #2, I conducted further research and now know how to build my own gas mask using very simple, household materials—tape, cola bottle and dust masks. Supposedly, it works against tear gas and pepper spray, but I'm not going to test it to make sure. In any case, if our enemies attacks us with stink bombs, I'm ready for them!

How does all of this filter into a mystery centered around ice cream, fancy rats and freshly painted classrooms? I'm not sure yet. But it will work out in the end!

If not, I'll learn how to make my own toxic slime and let my detectives blast the enemy with some of that.

As said, I love research!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG - Running Late as Always

It's IWSG time!

Every month on the first Wednesday of the month, us writers come together to offer support, advice, encouragement or simply to shed our frustrations and woes with each other. Writing is a tough journey, and we don't have to go it alone.

Thanks goes to the brain behind this group, Alex J. Cavanaugh! If you want to join in or find out more (because there is so much more to this group) then head on over here.

Special thanks goes to this month's co-hosts:

Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

This is my official 'I'm late' month. I'm constantly running behind during November...not sure why...but it happens every year. Which makes me wonder why I signed up for NaNoWriteMonth this year. So far, I've managed 350 words, which isn't exactly keeping up the pace. But who knows, maybe I'll turn into the Writing-Flash next week.

As to this month's question:
How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

My answer:
My creativity has gone down.

I've always been more of a creative person in so many fields—music, crafts, construction, gardening...I dive into anything with gusto. Since I've been writing more seriously (and especially with the upcoming release), the creativity in all these areas has almost bombed to non-existence. The day only has twenty-four hours. I now use my 'creative' chunk for this on writing instead of other things.

But writing isn't the only thing to blame.

My sewing machine broke, and I haven't bought a new one yet (my machine and I were one heart and soul). Will I ever find my soulmate again?

Our financial situation has never allowed for a real piano and my electric one from Europe doesn't work in the States without plugging it into a converter first...one that has to be dragged up out of the basement since it's big and ugly and we use it for other machines too. Nothing kills creativity like extra work first.

Farm work has taken over the 'physical' end of the energy I once used to build a swimming pond, a deck, bridges or whatever in our yard. Now, it's fixing fences, doing firewood, repairing machinery...
Hey, but with the fences, I could get more creative, now that I think about it! Colored barbed wire woven into beautiful forms....if the cattle would appreciate that?

Life changes. The creative flow changes.

And it is good so.