Friday, January 13, 2012

Extra Time

My bags are packed and loaded in the car, but instead of driving into Fort Wayne right now, I am sitting comfortably in front of a fire in my parents' house, working on our 2,000 piece puzzle and writing to you. Snow is falling in that northern land, and there are predictions of more snow next week, which is exciting to me. But for now, in the mild South, I take a few minutes to reflect on the week.

Last weekend I was in Memphis with my mom and dad, visiting Andrew and Amanda, and the three little-but-growing-fast Chandler boys. I don't know what I enjoyed the most - making Play-doh worms and pillows and blankets with Noah (the extent of my clay-molding skills), playing with every musical toy in the world with Toby, or holding Coen as he slept and slept and... slept. Amanda gave me some new recipes to try out and got me hooked on "Pinterest," Andrew showed me his newest books, and at night after the boys were in bed we all watched "Cake Boss" together. Good times!

Got to spend some good quality time with some friends when I got back, and last night Kevan and I watched a movie, ate chips, and played games. And "games" with Kevan are totally random and creative... like picking out a book neither of us have read before, blindly picking a random sentence from it, and then illustrating our interpretation of what might be happening in the story... and like one person making a meaningless squiggle on a paper and the other person adding to it to give it meaning. The sound of creativity buzzed and crackled like electricity in the air.

Mom and Dad and I have been listening to these books on CD lately, while we drive or work on the puzzle. As a writer, I analyze the writing techniques of the authors - why did they give so much of the information up front? how do they make despicable characters so likeable? why did they cut off the conversation or the scene right there?  As a reader, I analyze the plot - I know the classic plot twists this author usually takes, because someone you like always dies, or the underdog will come out on top, so how's it gonna happen? I dig into small details that I'm sure must be significant, analyze the characters, try to predict the thread of the plot and how the climax will rise and be resolved. I do that in life, too, I've realized. And the Author patiently reprimands me: "Just RELAX... enjoy the story, get to know the characters, savor the suspense, cherish the beauty page by page." Another goal for the future: don't try to figure it out or find all the answers... just enjoy the story.

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