Ah, where did December go! Happy New Year, rabbit rabbit, and all that! Make sure you eat fish today so the money will swim to you all year! (And avoid chicken at all costs so you don't end up scratching for your money.)
Sorry for disappearing for a few weeks. I actually half-wrote several blog-posts, but never had the time to finish them. Oh well. Family time is more important, especially when we don't get to see our parents and siblings that often. I'll get those posts out at some point. I have lots of thoughts, as always!
Christmas was great, although I think everyone is starting to feel a little old for the whole gift exchange thing. Personally, I think Christmas is more fun with kids around. So it was really exciting to hear that my brother-in-law and his new wife are expecting a little girl! This will be the first grandchild in my husband's family, and there are no grandchildren in my family either, so we're super happy. I can't wait to meet her and be an auntie at last!
I guess I'll hold off on discussing my thoughts on New Year's resolutions until later (or more accurately, the small changes I'd like to make this year), because I want to spend this last night off with my husband before we have to get back to work tomorrow. But I did want to do a very brief year in review, because I find it helpful for myself to read these posts later.
2016 was a big year of changes for me. I finally decided to quit my old job and start my own editing business, and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It didn't solve all my problems, I'm still not writing as much as I would like, but it did solve a lot of them - and frankly, I have been writing and publishing more than I ever have before. So I'm going to give myself a pat on the back about all that.
I read a bunch. About 19 books, some of them fairly long. I also read a ton of individual short stories and New Yorker articles. So I feel like I did pretty well in that respect, although I don't really care to get competative about it. I'm sure plenty of people have read a lot more than I did this year, but I read books I enjoyed (for the most part), and I'm good with that.
My husband and I got along much better this year, I think because both of us made a greater effort to spend time together, listen more, and help each other out as much as we could. I'm really happy with the way we spent 2016. It was a much happier year than 2015, that's for sure.
So there were a lot of great things that happened over the last 12 months, though 2016 was also a disapointing year politically, and it was a terrible year for mass shootings, terrorism, and war. Maybe I'm just naive, but I still believe that despite everything we're going to be ok. I know in my heart that good people far outnumber the bad. We'll prevail as long as we still care. I know I'm going to make a greater effort to turn how much I care into concrete action in 2017.
I hope you had a good year as well, and I hope the best for the upcoming. Let's do this.
When did libraries become indoor playgrounds for children?
Look, some of the most formative experiences of my childhood took place in libraries. I wouldn't be the reader or writer that I am today if it weren't for libraries, so I thank god my parents took me there almost every weekend.
But we checked out books QUIETLY, and then we took them home to read. We didn't hang out in the library for hours to play. (I don't remember people doing this back then, though they probably did, and I was just oblivious.)
I'm doing a lot of work in the library these days, along with a lot of other people, and we're all siting silently, reading or writing on our computers. Not 100 feet away, there is a collection of children running around, screaming at the top of their lungs, crying, etc. (you know, being kids), but it's all happening in a place where you're supposed to be quiet. It's a rule. It says so all over the building. But these families (and it's just a few), they're treating it like a play space.
Believe me, I actually really love kids. I love that people bring them to the library to pick out new books, or listen to the story time reading (which takes place in a different room). I just think that treating the library like a playground is an inappropriate use of a public space, and that a few parents are really pushing the bounds of what's acceptable behavior. I'm sure the librarians have given up trying to enforce the rules. No one wins when you try to correct someone else's child.
I remember my parents being very clear with me about being quiet in the library, and so I learned how to behave there. And you know what? I see plenty of other parents doing that right now, even as I'm typing this. They whisper to their children, help them find a book, and then they check it out and leave. Their kids totally mimic them too. They're learning their "library voices," and that's important.
Meanwhile, I think there are some parents on the opposite side of the room that are just dumping their kids into an open space and hoping they'll get some energy out - BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT THE LIBRARY'S FOR.
Sorry, rant over. I love kids. I'm actively considering trying to have one in the next year or so. But I still think we need to be respectful of other people's comfort even after we have children (within reason of course, meltdowns happen, I get that).
What do you think? Am I expecting too much that the library be quiet?
I love Batman. Loved him ever since I saw Batman (1989) when I was probably 3 or 4 years old. When Batman Returns came out, my mom took my brother and I to see it in theaters, even though I was only in kindergarten and my brother must have been in pre-school. I remember the theater being almost completely empty, so no doubt we went to the first matinee, which was typical for my family.
In retrospect, I'm a little shocked that my mom did that, though I'm also so thankful she did. I loved that movie, especially Michelle Pfieffer's rendition of Catwoman and Tim Burton's costume/set designs. But let's be honest, it's a dark movie. There's a ton of violence and gore. There's one scene where Catwoman scratches some woman's face, leaving bloody claw marks across her skin, and I distinctly remember my Mom leaning over and whispering, "It's just ketchup."
And you know what? I was like, yeah, that's just ketchup. It's not real. I wasn't remotely freaked out.
So how did my Mom know that I, a kindergartner, could handle that? Because I think her judgement was spot on, and I gained by getting to see one of my all-time favorite movies.
I don't have kids, and I'm not planning on having kids anytime soon, but with all the fun sci-fi and action movies coming out this summer, it's been making me think about how you know when your kids should get to watch what look to be some awesome, but admittedly violent movies. I'm psyched for Suicide Squad. But would I take a kid to see it? Would they enjoy it?
Maybe it has something to do with the cartooniness of the violence, as in the case of Batman Returns. But what about Batman v. Superman? Captain America? And how about a hundred other borderline movies? I'm a big believer that kids can handle scarier stuff than we give them credit, but I don't know where you draw the line. You want them to have fun and see a good story, but you also don't want to be that psychotic parent that lets their kids watch Saw III.
Any parents out there have a violent movies litmus test they'd like to share?
Writer, editor, scientist.