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Tumblin’ Teeth and Writin’ Frustrations

12 months ago

888 words

Photo: They just got YouTube in the Tooth Fairy realm, and she has discovered that she is hella crafty when presented with the right video. And by “she” I really mean “he” because I totally made The Husband do this last night.


So yeah, Ursa Major lost his second tooth yesterday after a lovely visit with some friends. He did not swallow it this time, which was a pretty big help for all involved. It was the talk of both brothers for the rest of the day, as Major wondered how much he was going to get again and Minor lobbied for his brother to give whatever the loot would be to him (“because that’s fair sharing. You get one, I get one “). That means a lot of questions and a lot of refereeing on my part, as if I didn’t have plenty enough to do.

Inspired by a friend who fondly remembers the creative tooth fairy of his own childhood, we’ve decided to present the boys with creative rewards for their fallen teeth. Some readers may remember that Major was a touch disappointed with his Golden Dollar coin, not really appreciating its value. In a bit of a pinch for multiple reasons, and because I didn’t want to hear howls of disappointment again, I thought that a little origami would be a better way to go.

In their excitement, the boys woke up a good hour earlier than they should have. I was not ready for them. Major happily announced from the top of the stairs: “The Tooth Fairy gave me one whole American dollar last night!”

“Oh yeah?”

He shook the crumpled mess in his hands when I came to look.

“It was folded. I unfolded it because I wanted to know how much it was.”

Sigh I didn’t even know what to say to the child. I guess if it covered in rainbows or plastered with a favorite cartoon character, all creativity is lost on my children.

To his credit, he did do his best to reshape it back the way it was. More to his credit, he took his little dollar and then he stuck it in the slot of his piggy bank. “It fits in the slot! That’s neat!”

It wasn’t until he was downstairs and eating his breakfast that he mentioned that the bill was folded.

“Do you know what? My dollar bill was folded up by the Tooth Fairy!”

“Oh yeah? Like in a square?”

No! It was a shirt! Isn’t that funny? Why didn’t she just wear it out?” He giggled. I giggled. I love the six year-old brain.

Ursa Minor didn’t seem to mind that only Major got a little gift. He eyed the creation, then patiently watched as Major put it in his piggy bank. There hasn’t been much mention of it for the rest of the day. No requests to go shopping, either, which is a good thing.

Motherhood… what a time, huh?

Anyway, I’m sitting here blogging instead of writing fiction because I am annoyed with the assignment. This is my academic career in a nutshell: I will do the work, I’ll even relish doing the work. I’ll do it well and I’ll turn it in on time every time. Until I deem it dumb. As soon as I decide the assignment is dumb, I ain’t gonna do it.

This is… not a healthy approach to work. It’s… probably the reason why my personal successes are fairly limited…

I’m frustrated is what I’m tryin’ to say! The assignment has asked me to sketch out the pivotal turning-point scene where my protagonist recognizes his fatal flaw (called misbelief in this class) and learn the lesson he is supposed to learn (or not. There is room for that). This isn’t the end of the book, nor necessarily the climax of plot events, but it is the climax of the character-centered story within the book… It’s very important. I’ve been grappling with the assignment for a week, but I am having  a hard time conjuring up such a moment when I have so little context to go on. Basically, I have my protagonist, Dar’tan, and I have a beginning of his story… and I know where I want him to go. But the path is still so very cloudy… and to ask me for this moment and to write it out with specifics feels… incomprehensible…. even foolish.

So I have been grinding my teeth and resisting. I may admit to tears of frustration. I emailed my coach just like I did a few weeks ago with a very well-articulated reason why I simply cannot do this assignment. I punted some words in her general direction, totally knowing that I was punting and that what I had written was bullshit.

She told me to breathe, think, have a drink, do some knitting and then get back to work. This week, she says, is the pivotal leap of faith. So leap, she told me. There is no where else to go.

So… I have an assignment due tomorrow… and a lot of work to do.

Hope you are having a productive Wednesday, Dear Reader. Add a drop of whimsy to it. That’s always a great way to carry you through to Friday.

I will see you then for Quiet Thoughts.

2 Replies to “Tumblin’ Teeth and Writin’ Frustrations”

  1. I’m sure by now the annoying assignment is done and you’ve moved on, but I’m still going to offer a way to reframe it. Think of it as a possible (I’d put that in italics if I knew how) pivotal moment for the protagonist. You’re trying it out. If it doesn’t prove fruitful, you’ve got more data as you continue shaping the story. It’s like trying on outfits for an important event. “OK camel makes me look ill, but A line skirts are flattering. Good to know.”

    When I taught Freshman composition there were some students who benefited from jumping into the middle of their paper and writing that first. Others hated that approach and wanted to write sequentially. Sounds to me like your teacher was trying to 1) introduce the idea of writing out of sequence and 2) get you all thinking about those questions of how your protagonist gets from from point A to B.

    Have you ever read Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before? It’s about habits and how different things motivate different people. I suspect you’re a rebel or a questioner since assignments you don’t see the point of are your kryptonite. The book has suggestions for how to use knowing what motivates you to your advantage.

    1. Can we talk about how well read you are? Seriously!

      I took the leap of faith yesterday and found myself letting go. I had to explain some things to my mentor (“There are some people here you don’t know” and also “there are some things about my setting that I need to explain.”). When I did those things, the words started to show up and things started to happen. I think you are right: this may not be the actual pivotal scene for my character. I’m taking this class to learn a system and tools. Perfection isn’t being asked of me, though perfectionism is my favorite vice.

      And it’s funny, I’m a “start at the beginning” kind of girl. Don’t want to start at the end. Absolutely hate the middle. The beginning (like the sunrise, or those first rows after a cast-on) is my favorite place. Fresh energy, you know? Momentum building… then it all gets stale in the middle and then I get sad to see it end.

      Basically, I’m weird. 🙂

      I’m adding yet another book to my Amazon wish list thanks to you! I’m so grateful you take the time to read my little blog!

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