Ever notice that when you're avoiding something you should be doing, you become very productive in other areas of your life? This post is brought to you by that chapter of my book I don't wanna write. Well, it's not the chapter's fault. I just still haven't gotten really into this story yet. And I know the only way to get into it is to keep writing.
But exposition sucks anyway. You can't not do any, because every book starts in the middle of something and every character has a history, but no one actually wants to read it. So you have to tuck in bits of it here and there, once people are interested enough to start reading. The first chapter of Sense and Sensibility is a solid block of exposition, and that kept me from getting any further the first three or four times I tried to start it.
So there are all kinds of techniques. The old "narrator looks at self in mirror and tells you what they look like" deal:
Her curly hair tumbled around a face that had seen too much sorrow. She combed her hair and thought of how her dad had died last year.
The "cram it into a few sentences when you need it" gag:
Joe drank a cup of beer. This was bad, because he was an alcoholic.
And my favorite, the cabbagehead tactic:
Suddenly a total idiot who had been raised inside a box walked up. "Gee, how did this civil war get started?"
Sometimes you can make people argue about your exposition, thus disguising it as conflict:
"Hey, Achilles, I know Agamemnon stole away your girlfriend, but maybe you could fight anyway?"
"Never! I have to regain my honor after that whole embarrassing deal where my mom dressed me up as a woman!"
But whatever you do, it's never quite as much fun as writing action. That's one reason why I've always had the strategy of giving my readers the least information possible to go on at the beginning, and hiding the rest as "secret surprises" later on, when they are too interested in the story to be judging my writing skills. (Or is that just me? The first chapter, I pick apart every word because if the style sucks, it's going back on the shelf. Once I'm three chapters in, I am no longer aware the book is made up of words.)
Is it just impossible for boys to be quiet, or what? I remember thinking, back when I was pregnant with Miriam, that maybe naptime wouldn't be so hard with her because the boys could entertain each other while I got the baby down for naps.
Hahahahahaha *snort* hahaha oh do go on.
Okay, I guess I was half right. They entertain each other beautifully. And noisily. When they are happy, they joyously tear the house apart while shrieking. When they are sad, they angrily tear each other apart while shrieking. Either way there is shrieking. I can get them to be quiet, if I'm right there with them reminding them every second. But if they wander too far away from me right as the baby is falling asleep, my choices are, a. ignore it and hope they won't suddenly squeal (oops, they do) or b. yell to be heard over the noise they are making, and thus wake up the baby myself.
If I put them in their room, they scream and pound on the door, so that's no good. If I turn on a movie, they fight over who gets to sit in Daddy's chair to watch it. In desperation I have put them outside, but they scream and cry, so that I'm relatively sure someone will call the cops if I don't let them in.
So of course I have the baby sleep in the wrap, but if you are holding the baby, it's kind of hard to also keep the big kids quiet. They get in fights and run to me, both screaming, and there goes the baby's nap. Yesterday she barely slept at all and was fussy all evening. Which, of course, means less attention and patience available for the big kids, but they aren't good about connecting cause and effect over that kind of distance.
Tonight I will be watching the last episode of Doctor Who available on Netflix. No idea how long till season 8 appears on there. What should I watch next? I am not sure I want something as emotionally taxing as Doctor Who .... hence Revolution and House of Cards have both been put on hold. I was watching them earlier this year, but they both were too intense and left me feeling depressed. My shortlist is: Classic Doctor Who, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (watched it before, but I don't mind), Sherlock . . . I think SeaQuest is on there too -- another one from my childhood. I also love Call the Midwife, but I'm caught up on it. I liked Lizzie Bennett Diaries (HIGHLY recommend) but do not like the other Pemberley Digital adaptations.
Any other good TV recommendations? I can't tell you what I like, because my tastes are always eclectic. What do you like? (Must be available to stream on Netflix or for free.)
Miriam is ROLLING. Can you believe that? She's about three and a half months; I can't remember when my other kids rolled over. I do remember that it's the turning point of babyhood between "limp rag" and "into everything." For Michael, it was a huge relief -- he at last wanted to be down instead of in my arms constantly. For Marko and Miriam, it's had a bit of a downside ... no longer can I plop the baby down on a blanket and wander off, because when I get back the baby will be somewhere else.
Right now she can roll back-to-front but not front-to-back (pretty sure all of my kids learned in this order, maybe because I think tummy time is tommyrot) which means I lay her on her back, she kicks happily, I turn around and she's fussing because she rolled over and has a face full of lint. I really need to sweep the floors around here. :P
Perks of Town Council: we get to be in a parade on Saturday. John sees this as a burden of statesmanship. I think parades are AWESOME, and the kids agree. We get to ride in the old-timey trolley.
WHAT shall I WEAR?
That's actually a serious question, because my maternity pants have a giant hole (these ones have been worn for less than 18 months total, what is WRONG with them?!) and none of my other pants fit. Not even if I suck in my gut, because it's my hips that are the problem. I don't carry fat on my hips (it loves to settle on my belly and give me a muffin top) but the actual bones appear to be wider. Weird. I need to go shopping.
I haaaaaaaaaate shopping.
If I had time I would order fabric and SEW myself a whole wardrobe. But no one has time for that, that's why there are clothing stores that sell tons of crap no one actually wants to wear. We don't have the time to make what we really want.
Also, perhaps there is no such thing as clothing that is simultaneously warm, attractive, and non-irritating to the sensorily-challenged. What I mean is that sweaters make me want to claw my skin off, scarves and turtlenecks feel like they're choking me, shoes pinch me, pants have all those seams, skirts ride up and/or trip me, and most fabrics are all fuzzy and awful.
You see, when the kids overstimulate me, that reduces my tolerance for other things, to the point that I'm like a toddler crying because their socks all have seams. Why can't someone find a way for me to be warm and decent that doesn't require fabric to actually touch me? It's twenty freaking fourteen, we should have figured this out.
I hear Quick Takes are linked here now, I may as well try that out. How was your week?