New Feature-Mondays

Edited on Janurary 17th to add: Only read this today if you’re set to read tons of typos and spelling errors. I don’t know where my mind was when I was answering the rest of the questions yesterday but the answers are almost incomprehensible! I probably won’t have time to fix them today but I will tomorrow! Sorry about that folks!

As this is suposed to be a writing blog each Monday I am going to feature a writing assignment from on of the two books that I got last year. Sometimes they’ll ask me to analyse a piece of children’s literature that is already out there, sometimes they’ll ask me to write my own, sometimes they’ll ask me to write journal entries about my own childhood. I think it’ll be interesting. I think this’ll give me some motivation to do it and as I said before this is something I can write when I feeling like writing and then post when I plan on posting (hopefully Mondays).

This week were starting out with some questions from The Writer’s Guide For Crafting Stories for Children .

What was my favorite book as a child? I liked the Laura Ingall’s Wilder series a lot. In picture books I vividly recall Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (I went to bed with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair…..). 

What was my favorite book as a teen? Lurlene McDaniel was a definite favorite. I was very much into historical fiction like Jean M. Auel (Clan of the Cave Bear) and Sue Harrison (My Sister the Moon). I think anything that had a feel of being real was appealing to me at the time. I didn’t want to have anything to do with fantasy or science fiction.

What made my childhood books special to me? The took me away. After my mother’s death especially I think I coped by getting away and how I did this was through reading. The bigger and longer the book the better (hense Clan of the Cave Bear). I think that in the school year following Mum’s death I read 91 books and MANY (most) of them were in the 400+ page range (with some having double that). As a little kid what was special about my books was being able to sit on my dad’s lad while he read them to me (so they had to be appealing read aloud books).

What’s the scariest thought I had as a child? I don’t know what my scariest thought was as a child.

What was the scariest thing that happened to me as a child? I think some of the simplest scariest moments happened when I’d be out with my parents shopping or whatever and wonder away a little bit and then turn around and not know where they were. That always really scared me. Once I wondered out into the mash (marsh) with a few of my cousins when we were all very young (and I was the oldest of the group but by far the least familar with the area) and I got disoriented and didn’t know which way to go to get back to my aunt’s. We weren’t out there for very long but I still don’t remember how we got home (I think one of the younger ones remembered) but I know I was scared).

What was the scariest thing that happened to me as an adult? I was in pretty minor accident with my father driving where it was extremely stormy  and we lost control on the highway and spun twice before hitting the gaurd rail on the other side of the road (facing the opposite way we’d be going). If anything had been coming we would have certainly been killed. I was pregnant at the time and was left feeling pretty shook up. I am still very nervous on winter roads now.

What was my greatest happiness as a child? Why? I think that exploring nature and being outside was my favorite thing when I was a child because I felt really free and everything was so beautiful. A lot of the times I’d go out there alone fo there was no one there to "judge" me (which is/was my biggest fear). I liked flowers and getting dirty and going to the beach so all that was good fun for me.

What was my greatest fear? Why? Doing something that would make me look stupid. I was always afraid of what people thought of me so thing like gym class or answering questions in front of the class or public speaking made me feel horrible because I was sure I was going to screw up and look "stupid". I NEEDED to be smart (because I didn’t have much confidence that I was anything else) so I hated doing anything where if I made a mistake people might not thing I was smart anymore.

What does loss mean to me today? Pretty deep questions here. I don’t really know how to anwer is right now. I might come back later.

What did loss mean to me as a child? I experienced a lot of loss as a child (in more ways than one). It meant a lot of pain and hurt and unfairness. I felt like the only one. It wasn’t true but when you are little that’s what it feels like.

Where did my monsters live? In the dark? In the closet? My monsters lived in the basement after dark but only when my Mum needed me to get something out of the deep freezer (I swear….they came out after I’d close the deep freeze to nibble at my toes so I needed to bolt up the stairs as fast as I could).

Who were my monsters in the dark? I don’t have a clear picture of the "deepfreeze monsters" but I also had plant like monters with long tentacles that lived just outside my window and they used to try to wrap themself around and try to get in. Scarey little buggers they were.

If I could control my dreams, what would I choose to dream about? I would dream about glorious gardens, and dragons and faeries. I’d dream about babies and women and birth. Hmm, if I was a child I’d probably dream about dragons and faeries *lol*.

What is the scariest dream I had as a child? It’s vague but it had to do with those darn plant like tentacle monsters outside my window. I remember lying down in my bed in my dream feeling really really heavy and then hearing banging outside my window and waking up and going to the window to look out and having these tentacle plant like monsters wrap in around my window frame and start to chock me. When I woke up I swore that the plants were still outside my window (I must have heard a noise on the street that got transformed into my dream).

What was the best school experience I ever had? What was the worst? Umm, can I say I’ve blocked out school memories….oh wait, I know my worst….one day after school two boys were bugging me and we were all being rather loud (but I really feel I was defending myself). They’d put my shoes and report card into the boys bathroom. The teacher had an after school tutoring program and apparently we were disturbing it (and I tried to explain what the boys had done) but the next day we all had to sit in the hall during recess and I got the chair right by the front entrance where every kid in the school passed on the way to recess. I’d NEVER been in trouble before and this was soooooooo embarassing to me.

The best school experience, I’ll think on it…..getting through something vertually unnoticed most likely…..or well, actually, in Newfoundland I felt a bit more confident and we did a play and stuff for Christmas one year and we’d practised our bottoms off for it (man the school was good for religion and music) and one of the Mama came up to me after and congratulated me for doing a good job and I actually felt like I did a good job and that felt pretty special. I think the fact that we worked so hard was worth it. Then also at that school the grade 6 class was the one that prepare the classrooms for safe grad for the graduation high school class (each class had a theme and balloon and whatnot) and that was a ton of fun to do as well. One time we prepared a surprise party for a teacher from our class (grade 6) and that was special). Grade 6 was a really nice school year (though I don’t think I learnt much).

How would I have reacted if my most secure anchors were removed from me as a child? It was. I was angry. I craved attention. It wan’t pleasant

What was my favorite age as a child? Probably 10-11 (life was good then and I was really happy where were at the time). I think at 10-11 you have a bit more freedom to do things too so that’s always nice (not that I was roaming the streets or anything but I could walk to a friend’s house alone or whatever).

Who was my best friend growing up? What was wonderful about him or her? Martin (though I was friends with all the "M" brothers almost equally through the years, probably him the closest) he was just a beautiful boy. Very polite and lots of fun to do things with. We’d go to the beach and make mud pies. He’d call me to tell me my favorite singer’s music video was on TV (eventhough I’m still not sure if he like her at all…probably not), he had sparkly eyes and a great laugh (umm, let’s hope he’s not reading this…I don’t want to make him blush… *lol*)

If I could return to my childhood and take one thing with me that I’ve learnt as an adult, what would that nugget of wisdom be and how would it change my life? Not to worry so much what people think (wish I could follow this advice now sometimes). Honestly, they won’t think of you once you grow up so really you don’t have to worry about them. I wish I’d tried more things but I was always to afraid to because I didn’t think I’d be good enough and that people would think badly of me.

How could I apply that lesson in children’s books?

I’ll come back throughout this week and finish up these questions so keep checking back. Right now though I have a book that is calling my name and I rarely take the time to sit back and read so that is what I am going to do while my house is quiet!

Sweet Dreams.

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