28 January 2013


Every once in a while a book comes along that causes a disruption in the force.  It changes things.  It makes you see the medium of book making and writing and reading in entirely new and unforeseen avenues.

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick was such a book for me.

Selznick was the mastermind behind The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which I admit, I haven't read.  If any of you have seen the movie HUGO, it was based on that book.  The movie was lovely.  I should probably read the book.

Wonderstruck, follows two story lines that intertwine, mostly at the end.  It's the story of a deaf girl in the 1920's who has to find her place in the world, and a boy in the 1970's who becomes deaf and unable to communicate in anything other than writing.  While the story was worthwhile and interesting, it wasn't the story that intrigued me.  It was the fact that half of the book was done in black and white sketches.  Half the story was told without words.  I realize that for picture books, this has been done many times to great effect.  However, in a middle grade, or YA book, I haven't heard of anything being done like that outside graphic novels (which are entirely different).  The drawings were beautiful and descriptive in a way words cannot be.  They brought forward a new sort of storytelling for me.  A more adult form of picture book.  A profound form.

Aside from that, I love the title.  What a word!  Wonderstruck.  It brings to mind the same feeling that awesome used to inspire.  Awe struck.  Wonderstruck.  I love it.

Selznick has taken two creative processes and combined them to tell a story.  He has taken a middle grade novel and a picture book and combined them.  I loved the way it made me feel like I was participating in something worth noting. 

Creativity can be a scary thing to unleash, especially when it's different from what everyone else is doing.  But this was beautiful.  Definitely worth picking up.

15 January 2013

Things I Learned While My Husband Was On A Business Trip

Things I learned while my husband was on a business trip:

Dishes and laundry still have to be done.
Children are crankier when Mom is in charge all day and all night.
Both sides of the bed don't get warm when there's only one person in it.
Texting can make me laugh out loud.
Children get away with eating a lot more junk because I just don't care. (Make the whining stop!)
Sleeping is a security risk, as I can't hear intruders as well.
I am willing to poke said  intruders in the eye with a sword-shaped letter opener. (It's the only weapon we have currently.)
It's not such a relief to get the kids to bed when there's no one waiting on the couch to talk to me.
Four days can be really long.
Every time the phone makes a noise, I leap to answer.
I don't mind so much if I'm grumpy because no one is there to take me to task.
I really like having my husband around.

It's not the first time we've been apart (the longest was three months a few years ago), but every time he's had to go I'm reminded again why I like him.

And while I really love my children, and love having them around, it's still nice having a second pair of hands to make their care a little easier.

It's been a long week.

02 January 2013

The New Year's Dilemma

This is the season of resolution.




Choose your own noun and place it here.

So why does it start with staying up late, and sometimes breaking the law, and kissing people you don't know well, and gorging on treats until the wee hours of morning?

Let's get into a little Mandi History.  I am the youngest child in my family, and so I was always the designated babysitter for my older siblings when they had their own children.  As far as I can remember, the first time I was allowed to stay up until midnight to welcome in the new year, I was babysitting my sister's small children.  It was a little disappointing.  Add into the fact that my parents woke us up at 6 AM every school morning, and in this way discouraged the ability to enjoy staying up late.

I can remember only one time in my entire life going out with friends for new year's.  It was really, really cold.

I read a book by Sharon Shinn last year in which they had a bonfire to welcome in the new year.  The story explained how the characters took things that represented some aspect of the old year and they burned them.  Then burned things that represented what they hoped for the new year.  Since I'm a closet pyromanic, this idea appealed to me.  We tried it last year, to less than stellar results.  Once again, it was really cold.  And our big, bright bonfire was reduced to a tiny spark in an abandoned charcoal grill.

This year, my husband and I said "Bag it" to the whole idea and I read my way into the new year while he played video games.  A friendly neighboring trailer park set off a round of illegal fireworks that rattled our windows.  At least I got a kiss.  It was from my husband.  The kids slumbered their way into 2013.

Call me a humbugger if you'd like, and you'd probably be right, but New Year's Eve is lame.

May 2013 be a better year than the one before it, and despite its uninspired birth, I wish you happy in it.