Friday, January 3, 2014

The Sleeping Sun

I'VE BEEN READING this book that was on a lot of year’s best lists. Wait, actually it was on one list, but other people linked to it on twitter several times and I keep clicking on the same link and was surprised to keep seeing the same book on all these lists, which were the same list.

I figured it out, eventually, but it made for a hyper-awareness of this particular book.

I’m still in the middle of it, and will eventually review it on Goodreads, but there was a short, two or three paragraph section that caught my eye.

In it, in a section that mentions synesthesia, it talks about some neurologists believe a developing baby brain, as it become a toddler, and eventually a child, might sense the world more like someone with synesthesia does.

Interesting, but that lead to a digression about a child animising the objects around them. And how that too is part of the development of understanding the world.

On new year’s, we’d been babysitting my nephews, and I decided to see if my youngest might give me some anecdotal evidence that there is any truth to this. The book suggested asking a young child about what happens to the sun at night. So I asked.

“What happens to the sun at night time?” I asked.

My youngest nephew (herefore to be called, Younger) said, very matter of factly, “The sun gets sleepy, and he has to rest. So he lays down and sleeps until morning.”

My older nephew (I shall dub him, Elder), who is in school, was aghast, he immediately gave a very long, but essentially correct, explanation about the solar system and earth’s rotation while orbiting the sun.

Younger went quiet for at least two seconds after Elder’s explanation before he quite confidently said, “That makes absolutely no sense.”

Kids. They’re pretty awesome.

A QUICK SET OF GOALS for 2014. They’re pretty simple.

1)      Write 500 words of fiction per day. That would add up to 175,000 words in a year. That's a pretty impressive number for a pretty small amount of work on a daily basis. I managed to get 1k out today during lunch. If I don't get it done, no big deal. It's the journey, not the destination. 
2)      Revise and Edit. Tons of stuff to do really. Tons.
3)     In order to help with my nuts and bolts of plotting, I’m thinking of crafting a super complicated time-travel story. Because the airtight time travel story is really the holy grail of plotting, I think. They don’t get done often.

That’s about it for me. Happy 2014, folks.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's why you can explain something simple and common sense to an adult and they won't get it - but a child will. Sometimes the simplest explanation really is the right one.
Five hundred words is a good goal. Before Christmas I set that goal for my latest, and every day I've written more than that.

Maurice Mitchell said...

LOL kid logic is wonderful in its own way.

Pat Dilloway said...

Good luck with those goals. My goal is never to set goals.

Tonja said...

I have hours of fun talking to my preschooler. I'm pretty sure if I asked him where rainbows come from, he'd say a unicorn pooped it out. :)

Good luck on your goals. Mine are similar. I decided to set a time goal but keep track of word count and pages revised just so I can see the little bits of minutes added together added up to something.

Andrew Leon said...

I never believed any of those kinds of things when I was a kid, but, then, I was reading astronomy texts in kindergarten.
My action figures would never talk to each other, either.

Rusty Carl said...

Alex - Kids are clever. And are willing to say whatever it is that comes to mind without worrying about it being right or wrong. It's very fun. And good job meeting your goals.

Maurice - It is. Makes the world a funner place to be.

PT - Noble goal. I'll be rooting for you to achieve it... no surpass it!

Tonja - Whoa - unicorn poop. That makes as much sense to me as anything I could make up. So good for him.

Andrew - To be honest, I have no idea what I believed when I was that preschool age. I don't really remember having an opinion. My dad happened to be taking astronomy classes when I was around 4, and he would always be taking me aside and discuss the cosmos with me. I do recall soaking up every word, and it stuck with me my whole life.

But I think my parents and loved ones were more of the 'children should be seen and not heard' school of thought when it came to child rearing. And as I've discovered in my adult life, I sometimes don't know what I think about something until I start talking about it.

Crystal Collier said...

Amen on the time-travel story. We watched the Back to the Future movies with the kids, and afterwards had to chuckle at how many issues there were.

Here's to an amazing 2014, eh?

Andrew Leon said...

@Crystal: As far as time travel stories go, Back to the Future is pretty tight and without any major issues, so that's saying a lot about how poor most of the others are.

Jo said...

Where's the problem, of course the sun gets tired and goes to sleep. Everyone knows that surely!

Being a "girl" nobody would have bothered telling me such things when I was a kid, I wasn't expected to be interested.

Good luck with the writing goal, it should work well. Happy New Year.

Nigel G. Mitchell said...

I dream of the airtight time travel story as well. I love time travel.

Kids are awesome.

Cindy said...

I had a story idea that involved time the antagonist. He or she finds it easier to control people from the 1700's.

Good luck with the goals.

Rusty Carl said...

Crystal - they all have problems. Every one. It must be harder than it looks.

Jo - thanks a ton! Hope you hit all your goals too!

Nigel - Kids are pretty great.

Cindy - thanks, great to hear from you.

Tina said...

I love talking to kids. I vividly remember this weird theory my 6 (now 16) year old had about why they were taking off the black whatever the outside of the building was and replacing it with white whatever. He had a complicated theory about hot water pipes and the building overheating and white letting the light reflect, not absorb, and then they wouldn't get too hot. This is also the child who at age 2, in perfect English, asked me "How does a vacuum work?" I said, "You plug this plug into the electricity, which powers the machine, and then when you move it around on the carpet, it uses a brush to sweep up the dirt." He said, "I know THAT MO-OM, but how does IT WORK?" I waited for the engineer to come home and handed over the question. I don't know how a vacuum cleaner produces suction...
Best of luck on your goals. They sound doable. I love time travel, especially picking holes in it, though I'd have to agree with Andrew that the Back to the Future are some of the tightest I've seen. Don't get me started on how the first three (as in the newest ones) Star Wars have so many continuity holes with the REAL original three. Andrew has already made me stop that discussion. Love you buddy, in case you're subscribed to comments...
However, I'm a pantser and wouldn't know how to plot that sort of thing at all. Though I would also not attempt it...
Tina @ Life is Good

Brinda said...

"Super-complicated" time travel....that makes me a little tired to think about it!

Briane P said...

I wrote an airtight time travel story. It's short. It goes like this:

A guy was born.
He lived 70 years.
Then he died.

HA! I crack me up.

I want to see your time-travel story. But your story of Elder and Younger was awesome. You should include them as comic relief in your time-travel story. They could be your Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Rusty Carl said...

Tina - I would have just told him what I tell my own kid whenever he asks me something I can't answer: Magic. I runs on magic. If you go to wizard school when you're older, you can learn magic too.... he's going to be 18 soon. I'm not entirely sure he believes me anymore.

Brinda - Yeah, just typing it out made me think it was a bad idea. But I do have a HUGE dry erase board I can bring up so I can work on it. That would be super-fun.

Briane - I feel like it would have been better if you'd added a fourth line to your story... "On his 30th Birthday!" There. No longer airtight.