Thursday, January 13, 2011
We Welcome Jessica Park!
“I Want To Be In Your Book.” “No, You Don’t.”
When you’re an author, everything around you is fodder for creative writing. The crazy characters you run into, odd experiences, etc. We get to take moments from real life and twist them into fictional fun, reworking them to suit our story needs. (Of course, not everything in our books comes from real life, and every writer will tell you that nothing is more irritating than having people assume that an entire book is based on reality. We have creativity, damn it!) There have been several occasions when I’ve been out with my mother and something offbeat has happened… and then both of us will simultaneously yell, “I get that one for a book!” Then one of us takes it and warps it to our needs. We’re all just power hungry.
People often claim that they’d love to be in your book. They ask you to write about them. They beg you. “I want to be in your book!” I always think, “No, you don’t.” The truth is that the fictionalized version of that person might not be so flattering. Writing about someone completely mentally sound, totally “normal,” or incredibly sweet is not always that interesting. So if we do want to write about you, there’s a good possibility that you should be offended. What we keep our eyes out for is quirky, complex, and bizarrely enticing. Weird. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but if you have legions of writers penning you into novels, you may want to grab a seat on a psychoanalyst’s couch. I may develop a character around someone that I know, but the fun in being a writer is that I get to then re-form that character as I want or need for my story. I have yet to actually put someone as they are into anything I’ve written, although some characters have hit pretty close to home. No, I’m not telling you which ones.
My son has asked me a million times to put him into one of my books, but I’ve never had a good opportunity to fit him in. But then, after doing a hundred Facebook status updates about funny things that he’s said, I started a blog called “What the Kid Says (And Sometimes What I Say).” I wish that I’d started keeping this record of our conversations earlier, because it’s going to be so fun to look back on this years from now. And use it against him when he has girls over. No, no, I wouldn’t do that. Fine, I probably will, but it’ll be funny and serve as good leverage when he’s in trouble.
Some of our conversations are sweet, some ridiculous, some sad, and others nonsensical. Here is a blip into life with my kid:
Love and Soda Hats
Kid: Mommy, I love you.
Me: I love you, too.
Kid: My heart is open.
Me: What does that mean?
Kid: It means that my heart has been taken.
Me: Where did it go?
Kid: My heart went to yours because I love you.
Me (trying not to sob over this adorably sappy exchange that is about to be unceremoniously cut short): I absolutely love you, kiddo.
Kid: Can we get one of those soda can hats?
Me: Um... what?
Kid: You know, those hats with the tubes so you can drink--
And this one:
I walk into my bedroom and find the kid stretched out on my bed, watching his TV show, and using my laptop.
Me: What are you doing? You're supposed to be getting ready for bed.
Kid: Well, ex-cuuuuu-se me!
Me: Ex-cuuuuuse-se you for what?
Kid: Excuse a guy for wanting to hang out with his mother!
Me: Nice try. Go to bed.
And possibly my all-time favorite:
So I'll confess that we were watching the best of the worst cheesy movies ever. But so what?
Kid: What movie is this?
Dad: “Lake Placid.”
Kid: “Lake Acid”?
Dad: “Lake PLACID.”
Kid: “Lake Flaccid”?
Me: “LAKE PLACID”!!!
What a difference one letter makes...
The kid is pretty thrilled and honored that I have a blog devoted to him, and that I put an expanded collection of these pieces together as an e-book. He has yelled at me on a few occasions for putting up what he considers embarrassing things, but like I said, I now have excellent leverage for those teenage years.
Jessica Park is the author of five Gourmet Girl mysteries (written as Jessica Conant-Park), the YA novel RELATIVELY FAMOUS, and two e-shorts, FACEBOOKING RICK SPRINGFIELD and WHAT THE KID SAYS (AND SOMETIMES WHAT I SAY). She grew up in the Boston area and then went to Macalester College in frigid St. Paul, Minnesota. During her freshman year, there was a blizzard on Halloween, and she decided that she was not cut out for such torture. So after graduation, she moved back to the east coast where, she'd forgotten, it still snows. Oops. She now lives in New Hampshire with her husband, son, bananas dog named Fritzy, and two selfish cats. When not writing, she is probably on Facebook, pining over 80s rock stars or engaging in Gleek activities.
Facebooking Rick Springfield (and Other Musings of a Scattered Writer)
What the Kid Says (and sometimes what I say)