Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Legend Boy


My nine year old is going to write, direct, and star in his own movies so that he can be richer than us and have his own room. He's also worked out an allowance that he'll send us (his parents) on a monthly basis so that we have some spending money while we live with one of his younger brothers.

He has a few plots already worked out, and the following is a transcription of one that he has been telling me for a few months but just dictated to me the other day. It's long, and this probably isn't the best place for it, but I want to put it somewhere....  we've been having long conversations about the publication process and the various self-publication options so he probably wouldn't be happy to know that I self-published it on my blog before he had the chance to make it big with this one... so don't tell him.

How I helped...

My role was to type as he spoke. When he got ahead of me, I would have him wait until I caught up, and then, I would repeat the last few words so that he could continue. A few times when his words made no sense, I repeated them and waited while he verified the syntax. We reread it once to edit. Initially, he had started the story in third person and switched to first person after the second sentence so that was perhaps the biggest edit. There were one or two instances were I repeated a sentence with a grammatical mistake in it so that he could notice it and fix it or not notice it and not fix it as the case was twice. There were a few instances where he requested that I remove something and replace it with something else, but I was very pedantic in terms of repeating what he had written, only deleting what he specifically said to delete, and only typing what he actually dictated.

The first time I heard this story, I thought he had made it up on the spot, but he said it was one of several that he'd been working on during his quiet time for months. It retains the same basic plot every time he tells it with small additions like a hoverboard after our Back to the Future marathon weekend. The fact that he could repeat certain sentences verbatim indicates to me that he's also worked on the syntax in certain sections in ways that are really valuable to pre-writing. Obviously,  I also punctuated this because one doesn't punctuate aloud while dictating. So on to his story...

The Legend Boy

by Max Parker

Chapter One

It was a normal day. I was playing Minecraft on my laptop. Then, Toby came along and hit the power switch which really sucks because I was about to build Big Ben. Then, my dad, Hank said, "Hup. Hup. It's time to go to hockey practice."

So I put on my hockey uniform and one boring hour later came back. Then, I wanted to go back to play on my laptop so I could build Big Ben again, but Dad said I should paint something. I kind of agreed with him. I mean it's been awhile since I painted something, but I've never built Big Ben.

So, I took three pieces of paper and taped them together. Then, I painted them. I painted them upwards like how you build a snowman -- one, two, three. It was beautiful. It kind of looked like the Mona Lisa, but happier. But there was one thing that was missing. It was a necklace. I decided that I didn't want to paint one on. I wanted to glue a real necklace on.

I thought it was a great idea. I could probably sell the painting. With the necklace plus the beauty and the paint value and the blah blah stuff like that, I thought I could sell it for about $40,000 at least.

Holden, the town bully, decided to take the painting and chuck it into the town cave. So I went after it. I thought I was halfway through the cave when I realized I had no food or water so I decided to go out of the cave to go get food and water. So I got all my favorite snacks including Gummi worms. Then, I went back to the cave. There were stalactites and stalagmites all over the cave.   

I heard a noise, and I got scared. But I just realized, it was only a bat. I gave the bat some Gummi worms, and then, it seemed to follow me. I was about to trip on a stalagmite when the bat stopped me so I wouldn't slip on it. I rewarded him with a Gummi worm. I decided to give the bat a name. I named him Petey.

Chapter Two

I could see the light at the end of the cave. I knew it was the end of the cave. Then, I realized I went through the whole cave without finding my painting so I needed to start looking, and I needed to start looking good.

I told Petey to help me look for my painting, and believe it or not, he actually started looking. I couldn't tell if he was looking for food or looking for my painting, but either way, I didn't care. Three hours passed, and I still hadn't found my painting. It was taco night so I wanted to get home. I decided to go out through the light, but it wasn't the end of the cave. Believe it or not, it was a necklace. It was shining bright.

I touched it, and it darkened. I brought a flashlight with me in case I couldn't see through the whole cave so I looked around, and I saw it. It was a skeleton man with the necklace around it. I grabbed the necklace.

Then, I saw that he was holding a sword so I grabbed it. Then, I saw a mouse. I decided that since Petey was such a good friend that I should add him to my team of animals too. So I gave him a few Gummi worms, and then, I told him that he was now a part of my animal team and that he needed to protect me just like Petey did. I told him the story of how Petey protected me from tripping.

Then, the necklace whispered in my ear.

It said, "They can understand you." It was creepy and loud how Voldemort sounds in the movie Harry Potter.

Then, Petey spoke to me, "G'Day, Mate. Top of the morning to you."

Then, I said, "Petey, you can talk!"

"Well, I can't speak human, but that magic necklace allows you to speak to animals. How did you guess, my real name is Petey? The mouse's name is Jane."

I thought it was a weird name for a mouse, but I decided to keep calling it Jane. You're probably wondering why I thought it was weird, but I thought he was a boy, and Jane was a girl name. Then, she spoke, and then, I could tell by her voice that she's a girl.

All she said was, "Can I have some more Gummi worms."

Then, I said, "No, you've already had a bunch."

Chapter Three

Jane and Petey touched the necklace. Petey started to glow like he was some kind of gem or something. Then, Jane turned golden. I asked them why they were turning that color when they touched the necklace. They told me that the necklace had super powers and when they touched it they became super animals. Then, I stepped on something sharp.

I turned around, and it was a bear claw. The bear tried to slash me, but Jane made a force field around me. I didn't ask questions, I just knew it was one of their super powers. Then, Jane levitated the bear up in the air and knocked him on the ground.

I talked to the bear since I could talk to animals. I told him that it was only an accident that I stepped on his paw and that I wasn't an intruder. Then, the bear said, "Go on." There was three ways we could go. The bear said to go in the middle. The bear told us that there was two kinds of paths in the cave. There were double paths, and when they came across a double path, they should always go on the right. If they came across a triple path, they should always go in the middle.

We went through many passages until I came to the light. I could tell it was the light at the end of the cave because it was just a different kind of light. Like when you look through a drain pipe, and you can see the other end, and your friend is there. It was that kind of light. I could see trees, but they looked different.

Then, the sword I was holding, the one that I grabbed from the skeleton man, exploded. It came back to my hand nicely again, and I turned it over. It said, "Time Sword. Do Not Touch." Then, I found a newspaper outside of the cave in a garbage can.

Chapter Four

It wasn't like old papers that we had in the modern day. It spoke to me so I didn't have to read it, and it levitated in the air so I didn't have to hold it.

Then, what it said to me is, "Happy New Years! Thirteen Thousand." Then, I realized, I wasn't in the year 2013, I was in the year 13,000. Then, Petey told me that the only way to go back to my own time if I took the time sword from this time and the time sword from my time and put the two swords together, and that should blast me back to my own time.

So I asked a random person if they knew where a sword is that said, "Time Sword" No one knew. I asked everyone in the town. Then, a lady with green hair came up to me and said, "I know where that sword is. Follow me." I followed her to the forest.

Then, I met the bear again that I met in the cave. He was still alive. He asked me what I was doing still alive. The bear told me no human could survive for more than a century. I told him the whole story, how the sword exploded and now, I'm in this time. I told him how I could only get back to my time by clicking the two legend swords together. The bear touched the magic necklace, and it turned golden. He started flying and told me to get on his back. I got on his back and flyed.

So he showed me the rock where the time sword was stuck in. Everyone tried to pull it out but me. It was my turn, and I pulled it out with ease. I clanked the two swords together, and it didn't work. Then, I realized the first time sword I had had a gem in it, and the second one didn't. Then, I realized my necklace had the exact same gem as the first sword. I took the gem out of the necklace and put it in the time sword. I clanked those two together, and I blasted back to my own time.

Chapter Five

I was going through the cave at probably a hundred miles per hour. I saw my painting and grabbed it. I realized my necklace I was wearing had a gold gem in it instead of a blue one I was wearing before. When I went out of a cave, I realized I had found the necklace for my painting. I put the necklace on, and it seemed a perfect fit.      

I glued it on, and it was perfect. I still had the newspaper for that year, and it started to change. I realized the newspaper from the future, you don't have to grab a new one everyday, they just change and update you  everyday. I read it, and it said a ten year old boy named Howie -- that's me -- pulled the sword out that no one else could pull. Explorers are looking for the boy.

I realized there was a speaker on the newspaper, and I yelled into it. I thought I was talking to the town, but I couldn't be certain. There was like a ninety percent chance I was. I said, "Don't look for me. You'll never find me." Then, I thought it wasn't safe to have a newspaper from the future so I ripped it in tons of pieces. I buried it under the ground where no one would find it.
Then, the necklace gave me one last gift. In the middle of the golden gem, I pulled out a tiny skateboard. I didn't know what to do with it. i tried to ride it, and because the necklace was magical, I thought there was someway i would be able to do it. Then, the skateboard turned big. I realized it wasn't a skateboard -- it was a hover board. I found out how it worked, and I sold it. I also sold the painting.

Thirty Years Later...

Chapter Six

I became rich and was very successful. I invented the hover board, and that made me rich. I married a beautiful woman, and I had three kids. They were all boys. Then, the town bully Holden tried to beat me up and told me if I didn't give him my money he would kill me. But I had learned a lot from that cave experience. I tricked him, and his face fell in mud. I told him to scram and he did. His gang of bullies ran with him. They were never seem again.

And my little brother Toibin became a successful shoe store owner.

The End.

I hope you have enjoyed the ride of The Legend Boy.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Note on procrastination....

You'll remember that not procrastinating was my goal for the year, and you may wonder how that's going. There are times when it goes splendidly--I walk past the washing machine, and I take out the clothes and hang them on the line. There are times when it goes miserably, I let the clothes in the washing machine weigh on my mind while I avoid them and they grow musty smelling.

It's not just housework that I procrastinate about...

Let's say, for instance, that I received a really awesome gift on January 25th that totally made my week and a collection of follow-up gifts, I would have totally procrastinated on writing a thank you note. Two months later, I would have not even penned a thank you note, but I would have probably spent a lot of time fantasizing about writing the thank you note.

I may have even had my kids draw pictures to send with the thank you notes, and then, I may have thrown their lame sketches of golden temples to represent gratitude-for-cash in the garbage in a Joan-Crawford-like outburst because I knew they could make better sketches.

I may have even spent a few days accidentally getting rich and buying the person who sent the gift a house, but if I've learned anything from obsessively watching Louis C.K. stand-up while avoiding housework it's that people like to fantasize about themselves doing nice things because it's easier than doing nice things, and at heart, they're just assholes.

I'm not sure what accounts for the difference between the assholes who just think of nice things and the nice people who actually do the nice things, but I'm glad there's nice people in the world--it makes it more bearable for the rest of us.


Remembering Little Things for Sanity...

Last Wednesday, everything felt perfect, but by Friday, it was all crap.

Wednesday started out with an ordinary conversation...

Husband: Why is there a bloody knife in the bathroom? It wasn't there when I went to bed.

Minger: The kids have been waiting for a bloody nose so that they can wipe it on a knife and create death scenes. Someone must have gotten a bloody nose and set props in the middle of the night.

At nine that night, I was standing in crap using the last of our clean towels to wipe up an overflowing toilet while thinking, "Wow, I really like my life. Things are so stable and great."

That's actually what I was thinking. In the past, if the toilet was overflowing, there were ten other chaotic things happening at the same time...  someone was painting with poop or punching somebody else or escaping out the front door naked or I was pregnant or someone was losing a job. Now, it's just a blissful amount of water gushing from a toilet...  We've reached a milestone. The kids are all over five which is much easier than when they were all under five, and we haven't changed jobs, bred, or moved for two years and four months, and that is the calmest things have ever been with us in the last ten years.

My over bounding happiness was completely gone by Friday morning at which time I couldn't finish a sentence without crying. Two cloudy days and a little PMS will do that to me, and just to make sure everything felt horrible, I did everything wrong last week.

I know the little things that I need to do so that we feel sane, and I neglected most of them last week.

Leaving the house...  I've found that in order to be happy, I need to take the boys out for sustained physical activity at least three times per week, and that usually works out to be a quick hike on Tuesday, park day with homeschoolers on Wednesday, archery lessons and swimming on Thursday, and possibly a hike with our hiking group on Friday. If we skip those things, my life starts to feel like I'm locked in a dirty two bedroom apartment with a lot of boy energy. (I tried to go for a metaphor, but it just came out as a statement of fact.)

Meeting social needs... I'm an extrovert so if I don't get to stand around talking with other parents for several hours on Wednesday, I get all water logged with my own thoughts. Due to work and hunting trips, my husband hadn't had a day home in over two weeks so I was starting to get all head-racy lonely psycho feeling, and I really shouldn't have ignored all of my social needs.

Meal planning...  I hate meal planning, and I totally forgot to do it all of last week--by forgot, I mean that I knew I needed to do it and I consciously avoided it.

Working too much...  I got a new job that pays daily, and it is easy to ignore the kids all day at the prospect of having cash in hand the next morning so I worked way too much last week which is a problem because... A) If I'm out-earning my husband, I'm bitchy to him about it so that was happening. B) I end up ignoring things like cooking so end up spending money on fast food which isn't filling and makes us all crabby. An hour cooking is a better investment of my resources than an hour working followed by spending all that money on fast food. C) Three unruly boys left to their own devices while I click on the computer turns this place into a disaster so I end up yelling and yelling at everyone because the mess overwhelms me.

So, this week has a clean slate. Meals are planned--breakfast, lunch, and dinner for five days--all of our regularly planned activities will be attended, and I won't overwork and get bitchy about it--well, maybe just a little.

It's a matter of balancing everything...  of not working for twelve hours and then trying to cook three meals at the same time to make up for not eating for two days. I know that with a little planning, things just feel better and flow better. I'm not one of those people who naturally seems to fall into positive rhythms so I need to nudge myself a little to make life work for us.

I just can't forget to nudge myself.

Friday, March 1, 2013


"Maybe we shouldn't question why the universe began. Maybe we should just be grateful that we're sexy and alive." -- Max

Circumcision to nature to god to evolution to a pun on Genesis/Genesex -- just a normal five minute conversation during an eight and nine year old birthday party.

I never realized peeing in the same room could spurn such an intellectual journey.