Sunday, October 28, 2007

My cheque arrived in the mail! $35 for my craft to Highlights. Yayy!

I often think about giving up this 'writing thing', but for some reason I continue to plug away at it. Perhaps, it's for the small cheques. Perhaps, like playing the lottery, the odds are against you and when that win comes, it will feel so great. I have been thinking about quitting quite a bit recently. The blow of the rejection letters seems to be harder to recover from, particularly when I only seem to get the dreaded "form." I have to keep reminding myself that I have not tried many stories yet.
Then I saw my story on Fandangle Magazine's site, and I was touched that the editor not only published my story, but was inspired to run a non-fiction piece and a craft along with it. Seeing that entire package made me realize why I keep at this.
I write because I want to touch people; children. I want to spark their imagination. I want them to think differently about the mundane; use their brains to entertain themselves and to feel good about it. I want to offer the same thing that Bill Peet offered me- a different slant on the world. It has done me well in life, to be able to look at things from another perspective.
So I will continue to do this writing thing. Creating stories, putting them to my critique group, honing, revising and putting them out to the world for rejection. If nothing else comes of it, I have offered my own kids a chance to view the world in a different light.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cultural Differences

I have been here for six years. Sometimes, it feels like home--most days now. Then there are the days when I really feel like an outsider. Today, for instance.
A kita trip to the Aquarium: 15 three-year-olds and two teachers.
Back home that trip would involve parent helpers, a rented bus and a packed snack. Here, it means a small argument ( on my part) to accompany the group, a 30-minute walk to the subway, several flights of stairs, in and out of the subway, a subway ride of 30 minutes and a provided snack of hot dogs and cucumber pieces -- all chokable, by the way. I won't even mention the teacher to child ratio--that's why I went in the first place.
Now, I try to be open minded. I try to acknowledge the cultural differences, and even embrace them (I like a good wurst, just like the next guy). But, I'm the only parent who thought walking a group of preschoolers all day, up and down hills and stairs, past endless fish tanks, and then dragging them all, half asleep, back on the subway for a return trip, was not only dangerous, but cruel.
Will the kids remember the exciting sharks and sting rays or will the memory be of walking and walking, until you thought you would fall asleep while your feet still scuffed the cobblestones?
You can bet I'll be going on the next trip, too. The firestation. I wonder if they make them fight a fire while they are there?

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