Monday, February 21, 2011

Raising Myself

They say women fall in love with men who remind them of their fathers. I certainly did, and I'm fortunate for it. I knew when I married the Hub what I was in for.

But when I had the Diva, I had no idea I'd end up raising myself. She's her own person, of course, unique and irreplaceable, but she has so many of my traits, both good and bad, that it sorts of amazes me.

Smart mouth with precociously large vocabulary? Check.

Weight problems? Check.

Allergies and ADD? Check. (I really wish I could tell my dad, "Hey! I was never an airhead! I'm ADD!")

Math handicap? Check.

Early onset puberty? Hasn't happened yet, but there are definite indications that it's coming.

Her self-esteem is much better than mine was at that age, and she has tons more social confidence. Sure, now I'm a talkative extrovert, but back then I was a timid little thing.

She has my good traits, too: a sunny disposition and slow temper, the ability to get along with most anyone.

And she has my imagination. She sometimes has vivid nightmares, and she can't always turn off her head. When she first complained of being plagued by "bad thoughts," I knew exactly what she meant. I fear there may be anxiety attacks in her future.

She inhales books, as I did. If the book really grabs her, she imagines herself as a character in it and starts spinning new stories; apparently she's a member of the LEPRecon force (from the Artemis Fowl series) as well as a Knight of Crystalia (from Brian Sanderson's Alcatraz series). I was a member of Robin Hood's band, and later I was Aragorn's girlfriend after he dumped Arwen. I expect her to write fan fiction one day.

Oh, yeah -- she's a writer, too. A good one.

I hear her in the shower, trying out the dialogue of a story she's inventing. I did that. She says the stories come to her in daydreams, and she can't stop them - the characters are talking to each other in her head. Yep, me too (wish I'd had the ADD medication she's on). Are the characters in her head talking only to each other, I asked, or do they ever talk directly to her? She says they only talk to each other. I said cool--that's the difference between creativity and psychiatric intervention.

She complained recently that it's difficult to get the stories out of her head and onto the paper--she finds it hard to start writing if she doesn't already know how the whole story goes. I told her about Nora's dictum -- that you can't revise a blank page, but you can revise crap. Just get the story on paper, then make it better. She liked that.

So now you're wondering if I'd like to share a little bit of her efforts? Well, of course I would. Here's the opening to The Story of Christopher Fang, transcribed exactly as she wrote it, save for some punctuation assistance (she's mysteriously averse to commas).

The Story of Christopher Fang

It was a quiet night. The Fang family sat on the top deck of their boat. Six month old Christopher lay in his mother’s arms. Little did they know that the biggest storm in history on that sea was coming their way.

The storm was coming at a tremendous speed. By the time the two adults noticed, it was too late, the storm hit, Mr. and Mrs. Fang were swept off the deck and Chris was tossed down below deck. The storm raged and raged, and all Chris could do was scream. Five days later, the storm stopped. Chris was extremely hungry and tired. A mother wolf smelled and heard something, so she took her puppies and went to the boat to see. When she found Chris, she decided to take care of him.

That's a great hook, don't you agree?


Kelly Jamieson said...

Aw! That's so great.I'm kinda jealous.

My kids think I'm totally nuts when it comes to my imagination and my writing. I make up stories about the neighbours (which often turn out to be true) and they roll their eyes. They roll their eyes at my insomnia and incessant worry about every little thing in the world and anxiety attacks and the voices in my head. They like to read, but *sigh* I guess they aren't going to be writers.

Kinsey Holley said...

I'm not looking forward to the day Diva reads my books. Wonder if she'll be appalled or humiliated or grossed out or what.

She resents the time I spend on the computer, but she loves the school that my books pay for, as I keep reminding her...

Juniper Bell said...

I love that story! I'm always amazed at how dark my 6yo stepdaughter's stories are. They always end with, "and then they all died." Is that normal, or does that call for psychiatric intervention? LOL. Sometimes she adds, "then they came back alive." I'm not sure she knows what it all means yet.

Thanks for the post, and for introducing us to your daughter!

lisagk said...

Wow, she sounds great. Enjoy her and all that she is and all that she does. So talented and such imagination. Genius.