7 Quick-Takes (Vol. 9)

~ ~ 1 ~ ~

Last time I “taked” I felt wobbly about specializing.

This week  I embraced the gift it is.

All my life I’ve felt pulled between all the things I love and all the things I do well, and it was only recently I released most of them to consciously focus on writing as my first (extra-curricular) priority.

On Tuesday I lived a day that reminded me of the turmoil I used to live in my trying to do everything.  It was energizing and exciting… and nothing got done in my home.  My children played more with other people than with me.  Okay for a day, but I wouldn’t want to live this way.


I am so thankful for the opportunity God provided to let the other things go.

~ ~ 2 ~ ~

Fertility in fiction.  You ever wonder why there isn’t any?

I played with the idea of a closer-to-natural fertility in my novel.

That is, I sat down with my time line and two major families then calculated how many children they ought to have with normal health in a pre-birth-control era.  This quickly became overwhelming by sheer numbers and I turned evil-god and gave one family a bad marriage and the other miscarriages.

They still ended up with 5 and 7 births, respectively, but it was good practice in understanding why so many stories center around 1- and 2- children families.  I no longer am certain those choices strictly reflect a lower view of large families.  Rather, I see it as an example of something most novelists wrestle with–simplicity enough not to drown.

~ ~ 3 ~ ~

Does anybody here remember Colby? This is the sort of music I grew up on.

At my mom’s yesterday I played the record for my kids.  The “computer” elements have not aged well, but the music and the clear communication of foundational messages is still *solid*.  The music caught my emotional memory in ways I never expected, and reminded me of how much I wished I could play piano– I can’t think of another way one person can teach two-part harmony.

The sweet two-part harmonies are the exact thing I want to teach my kids and their Sunday school class.  If you ever hear of this being re-issued on CD, let me know.  I have some scruples about giving away copies of recordings, so I haven’t done that, but I wish I could get “Make a joyful noise” into every home in our little church.

~ ~ 4 ~ ~

Tonight I’ll be going to a “ladies’ retreat.”  I’ll be overnight away from home, sans kids, husband and novel.

*What* am I going to do with myself???

Is it too much to hope that I’ll get good sleep?

~ ~ 5 ~ ~

I’m considering joining Weight Watchers.  I have several friends who’ve spoken well of it and the structure it provides.

My resistance comes from the cost and the reality that I– in theory at least– already know what to do, so paying someone to *watch* me do it seems weird.  It makes me think of what my mom says about those who have that gastric-bypass surgery: “If they can change the way they eat afterward, why not before?” (I’ve been told reasons, but they’re pretty gross)

~ ~ 6 ~ ~

I haven’t been reading much since I started this last revision, but on one level I see this as a basic defense.  For me, reading (beyond the recreation and enjoyment of it) is to gather input and ideas for my own work.  At this exact moment I am not in a conscious idea-gathering stage and don’t want to be distracted from the “basic clean-up” I’m working on completing.

Honestly, if there is some huge structural flaw, or major twist or revision that needs to be worked in, I am not in a mental/emotional state to apply it, so I’d rather not increase my awareness just now.  I’ll re-engage after I send this out.

~ ~ 7 ~ ~

I have a stack of “animal-transformation” novels I’m working my way through (in the not-this-minute sense).  Also found an interesting book  called The Beast and the Blond with a chapter about animal transformations and the difference between males and females with the affliction.

All sorts of assumptions and discussions about the differences between male and female troubles and attitudes.

Fascinating stuff this.  To me.

For more 7 Quick Takes visit Jen’s Conversion Diary

Other 7 Quick Takes on Untangling Tales

9 thoughts on “7 Quick-Takes (Vol. 9)

  1. I’d like to hear about female transformation. The fairy tales I’ve read all have to do with males, but there is some interesting underlying meaning to that I’ve found. I do remember in mythology there were females that transformed into animals, usually it was to escape the advances of a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

  2. On the fertility question – I’ve considered that too, in writing my own book. In the nineteenth century (which is my time period), there were few methods of birth control, and once the Comstock Law was passed, it was illegal for a doctor to dispense or even talk with a patient about birth control. I’ve read in some sources that a married woman of childbearing age was probably either pregnant or nursing for most of her life. So pregnancy figures pretty importantly in my story. But I’m sort of self-conscious about that, afraid that people will think it’s overdone.

  3. Very interesting insight on the closer to natural fertility in kid lit. I can see how orchestrating a family of even seven or eight kids could be a much greater challenge for a writer than smaller numbers. Now you’ve got me racking my brains trying to think of stories that have more children than average.

    A few thoughts off the top of my head re female transformations. I remember a novel by Robin McKinley called Deerskin in which the heroine transforms into a deer to escape the advances of her father. There is also the very popular Japanese folk story The Crane Wife about a crane who becomes a woman and marries a peasant who saves her life. And there is the folk ballad of the Bonny Swan about a woman who is killed by her sister, becomes a swan and then a harper makes a harp out of her bones which then accuses the murderer when he plays it. There are many fairy stories from Ireland and Scotland about selkies, seals who become women, the movie The Secret of Roan Inish is a variation of those stories.

  4. Birds, especially swans, are also common, though these seem to represent more maidenly freedom and the loss of ability to transform is mourned.

    Similar skin-shifting stories exist with seals instead of swans.

    And I got the title wrong, its From the Beast to the Blonde.

  5. I love seeing these peeks into your mind. That fertility thing is fascinating. I’m trying to think of books. The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Harry Potter–There are lots of Weasleys. I can’t think of many more. I’ll have to ponder that a while.

  6. Of course, now that you’ve made the point about how difficult it is to write about large families, it makes me ponder the point of how what we write is interpreted by others. Yes, we might write about one or two children because it’s easier, but then how does society interpret that. So very fascinating.

  7. Oi, maybe I should just write a post. This led me into pondering the post I just wrote and one of my readers complete disagreement with me. I was lamenting that so often in literature and movies all the adults are the bad guys–or non-existent, and what kind-of an affect this might be having on society and my reader said she just thought that people were just illustrating the natural tendency for most teens to “go off”–whether emotionally or physically–on their search for independence. How fascinating that someone might be just trying to illustrate this point and here I am frustrated by their lack of positive teen/adult interaction.

  8. I’ve been thinking about your specializing lately, as I look at my own inability to do so. I’m still so torn among all the things I want to do and feel I ought to do.

    Love the thoughts on natural fertility. You’ve mentioned before your desire to be accurate in that area, and I think it’s very interesting. Would love to see more books explore those ideas.

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