My Mission Statement

I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Writing for Children- aha moment

Picture this: a beautiful sunny day on the Outer Banks. I'm 'lifeguarding' six children along with my friend while our husbands are off doing goodness knows what up the beach. There are only a few other people on the beach, and it's a breathtaking day. Kids are having a ball. After about 45 minutes or so, the daddies returned and offered to take the kids with them for a while. Of course, we helped gather the children and send them with the dads. The first few minutes, we did the regular mom without kids things. We looked at magazines, drank a beer, and so on. Then, not to be gross, but we needed to go for a swim if you know what I mean. Long story short, we ended up taking the kids' boogie boards out for some genuine boogie boarding. None of that mom-style holding the board and kicking, we were really catching some waves. It was hilarious. Plus, I was wearing my 'lifeguarding' suit not a real 'swimming' suit, so the waves must have pulled my pants down ten times, but I was undeterred. Anyway, this is what happened. I had this flashback moment of being a kid and body surfing (we didn't have boogie boards back then), and I was amazed at how, as you ride the wave, the shore line rushes up to you. It's not like you think, you don't feel yourself moving really, you just see this shoreline rushing to you. It's a crazy feeling and not at all like I 'thought' I remembered. So were I to write about a kid boogie boarding, I would have been totally off base prior to this experience. Not to mention how much crazy fun we had. When the kids returned, they were like, "You can do that?" I wanted to say,"Well, not very well," but I let them be impressed in their own sweet way (remember my ED is at camp).

The whole experience was fun and invigorating (yes, I was sore the next day!), but it also taught me a ton. If I'm going to write for children, I need to make a real effort to understand them in an up close kind of way. Not just my memories, that's not quite enough, I need to connect with my inner child here and here, just to remind myself that the kid perspective is always better and more fun.

On another note, our last scheduled guests of the summer left yesterday. We had a wonderful visit, but we're all exhausted physically and mentally. We had a mellow day, and I'm looking forward to some family time this week. Today is my mom's birthday. We're planning a trip for a more proper celebration in the fall. And this Friday, my husband and I will celebrate our 16th anniversary. Hard to believe. What a cliche thing to say. I mean, I'm a writer, and I write something as common as 'hard to believe'? That's so pathetic. So let me try again. This Friday, my husband and I will celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary. In many ways, it seems only days (aw, man, see how I go with that corny rhyming stuff--why can't I stop that?). Okay, forget it.

But I must ask one obnoxious pop culture question. Has anyone out there heard the new NKOTB (New Kids On the Block) song, SUMMERTIME? It's just a great little tune that all my kids are singing these days. Catchy and a good little summer ditty. I also must confess that another song I like (that my kids also like) is Kid Rock's ALL SUMMER LONG. Listen for that one, too.

Well, I'm off. I hope more of you will join me on Wednesday for Grateful Wed. What a precious, blessed time with this young kiddos. I know a lot of you readers have children of a similar age. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! (or for those, like me, who nibble on their fleshy cheeks Bon Appetit!)xox


Dorothy said...

What fun! Thanks for the telling.

I remember being at a conference in Richmond (my kids were in college) and again being beside the same tree at Maymont Park where I had often climbed and swung by my knees. It was like being transported in time, back to my childhood, for a minute or two.

But I never body surfed. Wow.

Donna Jones Koppelman said...

So did you swing from your knees? That's a great childhood moment to relive. I used to love the world in its upside-down-ness.

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Isabel by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman

Major Bear at the Grove Park Inn by Donna Jones Koppelman