Saturday, December 27, 2008

Blog Chain - Jingle Bells

Happy Holidays everyone!! Okay, for this round, we decided to mix it up a bit, change the order we post, and just pick our own topic for some holiday fun. Mary started our Jingle Bell Chain and Terri is the blogger before me in this chain. Since I am the last person on the list, please head to Mary's blog to check out all the fun posts.

Well, I was going to post a fun poem I wrote for my father, ten or so years ago. It was a funny spin on Twas a Night Before Christmas, filled with funnies about my dad's personality quirks (you know, the usual stuff - there were 5 of us kids, we had a mouse that lived in the wall that you could hear scratching around at night, we had a cat that my dad repeatedly tried to leave at various dairies who somehow always - no joke - found her way home...usually pregnant - and it ended with "Merry Christmas to all, and TURN OUT THAT LIGHT!" It was just fabulous, really). But alas, back then I didn't keep copies of what I wrote, and my mom, though she searched long and hard and found everything that I have ever written, was unable to locate the one I wanted.

So, since my mind is mush, I scrolled through the pieces that I was smart enough to save to find something else :) It is my father's birthday in just a few days, so I will post a poem that I wrote for him for Father's Day a few years ago. No laughing now :D I'm not that great of a poet ;)


“You are like my masterpiece,”
You said to me one day.
Just like a famous painting,
Or a sculpture made of clay.

I had always known you loved me,
But it wasn’t until then,
That I saw you for who you really were,
My father, a king among men.

You always worked so hard for us,
And never got much rest.
I’ll always remember what you did,
I know I’m truly blest.

“You are my masterpiece,” you said to me,
Those words meant everything.
They are sweeter to me than any sound,
They caused my heart to sing.

“You are my masterpiece,” you said to me,
And I finally understand.
Because now I have a child of my own,
And I pray that he can withstand.

I see how easily he can be hurt,
And my heart breaks to think of his pain.
I finally know how you must have felt,
Each time I broke under the strain.

I don’t remember you crying much,
But I remember you that day,
Your eyes were filled with unshed tears
That you could no longer keep at bay.

You cried for me, your masterpiece,
Because I had been harmed.
But you were there to comfort me,
And take me in your arms.

And now I have my own sweet child,
He is my life, at least.
Someday I’ll tell him what you told me,
“You are my masterpiece.”

I wonder if he’ll understand,
My pain each time he cries.
Why I’ll strive so fervently,
To protect him from a world of lies.

I’m sure someday he’ll understand,
When he has a child of his own,
And he looks into her tear-filled eyes,
When she feels lost and alone.

And until then, I’ll do my best,
As I watched you do for me,
No little girl could be more blest,
Than to have you for her Daddy.

Happy Holidays Everyone

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blog Chain - Wish Fulfillment in Fiction

Time again for the Blog Chain. This topic was chosen by Sandra. Head to her blog, Dual Citizenship in SpecFic and Mundania to catch the beginning of the chain. Carolyn at Archetype Writing came before me, and I am the end of this chain, so Sandra will be wrapping us up!

On to the topic….

What is the role of wish fulfillment in fiction? What personal wishes do you want your stories to fulfill? Are they the same ones you want to read about? How do our fictitious wishes affect our everyday dreams?

This one is a doozy :) Well, first of all, what personal wishes do I want my stories to fulfill? My characters tend to have a lot of me in them. Certain quirks and personality traits are translated into my characters make-ups. But, they also tend to be what I am not…sometimes, what I wished I could be. My characters are funnier, smarter, more outgoing, bolder, braver, and just plain spunkier than I ever will be. Sometimes I’ll create a situation and have my character act just as I would. But just as often, I’ll have the character act in a way that I always wished I could, but never would. If that makes any sense. :)

I also choose my settings and storylines sometimes based on my own personal wishes. I write historical fiction. Why? Because I love history. Would I ever want to really live in 17th century England. Probably not. But I’d love to visit for a few days and scamper about in those gorgeous poofy dresses :D Writing historicals allows me to indulge in my own little fantasy world.

Now, the situations my characters get into are not anything I would ever want to be involved in. I don’t want loved ones dying, I don’t want guns waved in my face, I’d hate to be kidnapped and beaten or threatened in any way. But…I think a part of me wishes for that kind of excitement. For the earth-shattering, all consuming passion that drives one character to risk everything for the one they love. I love my life, but let’s face it. Being a stay-at-home mom to two young children isn’t the most thrilling job in the world. Not that I would change places with anyone else for a second. But writing my stories allows me that small escape into a world vastly different from my own. And that is what I hope my stories do for my readers. I want my stories to suck them in and take them on a trip with characters they fall in love with. I want them to grab one of my books when they’ve had a hard day because they know they’ll get lost in a storyworld that will make all their cares and worries go away for a bit. So, that is my personal wish for what I want my stories to do.

Are my stories the same ones I want to read? Sometimes. I love historical romances. But I don’t read them when I am writing them. I get a little sick of the genre if I am immersed in it too much. So, if I am writing a historical romance, I’ll read something like Harry Potter. If I’m working on my Middle Grade/YA book, I’ll read Jane Austen or something. However, I do read for the same reason I write. I want to get lost in a world vastly different from my own. I don’t read “realistic” fiction very often. Stories set in the present time (unless they have paranormal or fantasy elements), non fiction dealing with the present or present issues. I read historicals, fantasies, science fiction, romance (as long as they aren’t contemporary – I very rarely read contemporary romance). I read biographies, but they are bios of ancient kings and queens and civilizations.

You know, before I decided to get my Masters degree in English and start writing, I wanted to be an archaeologist. I got my Bachelors degree in History. I subscribed to Archeaology magazine. I wanted nothing more than to go dig around in the sand and find old stuff :) I deal with the real world on a daily basis. When I am looking for entertainment (in the form of reading or writing) I go for something that is different than my every day life. I want to get lost in another time or place, not deal with the same type of stuff I have to deal with in my real life. Even when watching movies, my top choices are always the romantic comedies or fantasies and science fiction. Hardly ever dramas. I have enough drama in my life, I don’t want to watch someone else’s :)

What is the roll of wish fulfillment in fiction? Well, I’d probably say fiction is all about wish fulfillment of some kind. Fiction, by definition, is something imaginary…not real. In a fictitious world, anything can happen. Men are gallant and chivalrous, they can be dangerous, even criminal, and still be “the kind of guy you bring home to mom” all at the same time. You can get kidnapped before breakfast and be home safe and sound by dinner, and be none the worse for the experience. You can get the perfect job and meet the perfect mate, and despite several dumb mistakes, you’ll end up right where you want to be. You can be the most messed up person in the world, with the worst life imaginable, but by the end of the story, you are, at the very least, somewhat wiser and better off than you started out. You can ride dragons, fly with fairies, and shoot lightening from your fingertips, all while wearing some killer outfit, of course. You can solve all your problems and live happily ever after in 300 pages or less. No matter what your secret dreams or wishes are, in fiction, they can be fulfilled, with the simple turn of a page or the flick of a pen.

If you missed any entries in the chain, be sure to start from the beginning at Sandra’s blog.