yeahwrite.me: Weekly Writing Challenge #157 (Time F-L-I-E-S)


“Hey, Henry! Maybe we should take S-I-S-T-E-R and some B-U-B-B-L-E-S and head O-U-T-S-I-D-E…”

Morrigan stared at me intently the whole time I was speaking to her older brother, and with a glint in her eye she blurted, “Are we going outside to blow bubbles?”

Damn it. I’ve traveled this road before, and trust me: it’s all downhill from here. People worry about their kids’ first day of school or their first love or the day they get their driving permit, but the real trouble starts when you can’t spell in front of them anymore.

I blame myself for this predicament. When Henry was small we made regular trips to the library and the bookstore. I read aloud to him every day. I had children’s books of all kinds and reading levels in my house, and if he found a book he really, really wanted, I got it for him even if I had to spend my last dollar to do it. Those were the days when I could do no wrong, before he started school and learned to read for himself.

Don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about. This is how it starts. Kids learn how to decipher the strings of letters they could only stare at uncomprehendingly before, and they pull the pedestal right out from under you. (There must be an inscription on it that says, “Pull here.”)

After he learned to read Henry wouldn’t be caught dead liking anything I had expressed a favorable opinion toward. Doing so would have been a cause for extreme embarrassment. This went on until one day when he accidentally took notice of a book I was reading.

“What are you reading?”

“This? Oh. It’s called Ender’s Game.”

“What’s it about?”

“It’s about this young kid who’s being trained in a military space camp to fight a final all-out battle with an insectile alien race.”

“Really? I didn’t know you read that kind of stuff.”

“Oh, yeah. I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. Like Wheel of Time, the Foundation series, Dune, Stranger in a Strange Land… I just got a couple of books from a series called A Song of Ice and Fire. I read lots of stuff like that.”

“Oh.”

“I’m done with this one. You probably won’t like it, but you can look at it if you want.”

I tossed him the book and left.

Ever since that day he asks my opinion about books, and not just sci-fi and fantasy. He shares what he’s reading with me–without being prompted. We have whole conversations about books…

Now that my five year old can read she’ll be convinced she’s smarter than me, butΒ  this reading and spelling thing isn’t so bad after all. I just have to accept that I’m going to be stupid and embarrassing for another ten to fifteen years. At least.

(Yeah. It’s worth it.)

 

***

I wasn’t planning on participating in yeah write’s Weekly Writing Challenge, but then I thought, “Why not?” Now I pose the same question to you: Why not? You have nothing to lose but a little bit of time, and you’re going to be here, writing, anyway. Right?

The challenge works like this: you write a piece that is 600 words or less and submit it to the Weekly Challenge grid. The editors review it, and one of two things happens: 1. They accept your piece and it goes onto the grid for voting. (woo-hoo!) -OR- 2. You get an “love letter” informing you that your piece did not make the grid. (aw!) It’s all good, though, because you also get some advice on how to improve your piece, and we all get to be better writers.

Cool, huh? Obviously I thought so.

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43 thoughts on “yeahwrite.me: Weekly Writing Challenge #157 (Time F-L-I-E-S)

  1. That’s awesome that you were able to instill such a love of reading. My kid just turned 6 and I’m hoping to do the same thing but right now we’re at that stage where she can kind of, sort of read but she can’t do it as quickly as she wants to so there’s all this frustration. And, yeah, spelling as incognito communication is out the window. ::: sigh :::

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    • It *is* frustrating, wanting to read and struggling. There’s good news here, though: she *wants* to do it. How awesome! All you need to do is take the pressure off. (I know this is WAY easier said than done.)

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  2. Fantastic! My oldest reader pulled the Chronicles of Narnia off the shelf and dug right in last year–I loved it. Definitely a transition stage, though. Now I have to close my computer so she doesn’t read news headlines or, more importantly, all my blog posts about her. πŸ™‚

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  3. you’re right it’s over when they learn to read and you can’t spell things out loud anymore. ha. but what a gift reading is! so far, i have one solid reader but i’m hopeful the others will follow..

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  4. My kids are in their twenties now and have decided that maybe I am not so bad after all. They do come back around. πŸ™‚

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    • My daughter isn’t quite there yet either, but I can see the seeds of it already. She is as affectionate as my son ever was, but she is so much more headstrong and independent.

      I can see us eventually butting heads, but I really do think it’s because we are so much alike. With her I will need to learn how to bend. I think being an older Mom will be helpful in that regard. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve gotten wiser or if I’m just too tired to put up much of a fight! πŸ™‚

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  5. What a cute read. This stands out to me big time as I realized as a child I would never be taken seriously until I knew how. It was all downhill for my folks after that πŸ™‚

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  6. I read Ender’s Game late in life (after I’d already graduated from college), and it still made me sit up and take notice when I finally go around to flipping through it.
    Like Art, I met Tarzan very young though. And I fell into the world of fantasy through The Chronicles Trilogy by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. For a long time after that, if it didn’t have dragons or magic I wasn’t interested. That was probably when my reading habits veered away from my parents… before then we could talk about what we were all reading, no problem.

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    • I’m fortunate in that I benefit from Henry’s suggestions as much as he does mine. For instance, I initially resisted reading the Harry Potter books because I perceived them to be too “young” for my tastes. But Henry wanted me to read them, and I have a rule: if someone takes the time to recommend a book to me, I read it. After I finished the series I had a true appreciation for what J.K. Rowling had accomplished: namely, she created a wildly popular series that grew in maturity along with her audience.

      The point is, we don’t always read the same things, and sometimes we disagree, but we respect one another now. As a parent, this is a source of great satisfaction and contentment for me. Now if I can only manage to pull it off with Morrigan as well…

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      • If you pulled it off with Henry, you’ll probably pull it off with Morrigan too. πŸ˜‰

        I initially resisted reading the Harry Potter series too. But, I’m glad I did finally give in and read them… As you said, a fantastic example of how to grow a series with your audience.

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  7. Oh I have a five year old that is catching on to all of our spelled words and hidden innuendos these days. I can’t say shit…I mean nothing…without her picking up on it.

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    • Oh, man. Sometimes I feel like such a bad parent. When my son was small I was so good about never cussing in his hearing. Now I’m in my 40’s and I admit: I’m not as diligent as I once was. *sigh*

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  8. Haha, it’s so true. I’ve written before about when my parents first realized I knew what they were spelling. It was of course “ice cream.”

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  9. Okay, so I’m sure the many comments I scrolled past spoke to parenting and many other topics, but as a non-procreator, my focus of your post is on Ender’s Game. I read the first book about three weeks ago. Then tore through the second in the series. I liked that one better. Now I’m onto the 3rd. Not so happy. Have you gotten that far? Should I plow through?

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    • Sadly I have not. I did read Speaker for the Dead and enjoyed it a great deal. My son is just now reading Xenocide. When he finishes with it, it’ll be my turn.

      My personal plan is to read the quintet and then see how I feel after that. Sorry I don’t have more info for you. Blame it on Robert Jordan.

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