I took Noah out to dinner tonight, just the two of us, so we could have a big heart to heart about writing…
I told him I wanted him to write one book per school year, so by the time he’s applying to colleges the beginning of his senior year, he’ll have three books finished.
(And the book he’s finishing now doesn’t count…he started it so long ago, he’s grown immensely both as a person and as a writer since he started this book, it’s really just another practice book at this point–)
Surprisingly, Noah nodded and agreed with me…quietly. He thought for a second, “you know Mom, I was reading part of my book the other day, and I’ve been working on it for so long I’ve forgotten parts of it, and there was this one part I was reading that seemed like an adult wrote it, not a kid, it was written so well, and I don’t even remember writing that part–”
“Of course Noah–that’s because you’re a great writer Noah!! You’re extremely talented. But just because you’re talented doesn’t mean that writing is always going to be easy. Like that famous writer said, there will be parts of your book that are easy to write and there will be parts that are hard, the key is to get the words down on the page and then sort through it all later–”
Noah nodded, like he understood…I could feel something click inside of him–
“Now if you’re going to write one book a year in high school, you’re going to have to figure out how long you want each book to be, and then divide by ten months so you can figure out how many words you have to write a month to get it done. For your next book, I want you to write a longer one next time too…and I’m gonna challenge you to tackle harder material too. The first two books have been cute children’s fantasy type stories, but I want you to go deeper this time…tackle some darker subjects.”
As we’re having this part of the conversation, we were walking out of the sandwich shop and a rainstorm started, so we stopped and stood under a tree. As we were marveling about this random water storm (not common in Los Angeles), I suddenly realized that the song ‘Celebration’ was playing through a store’s speakers….
“Do you hear that song Noah? Do you hear that song in the background?”
The song was faint against the pitter patter of rain and roar of Beverly Drive traffic.
Noah looks up, trying to find the source.
“Whenever I hear that song, I always think of one of my closest friends who died when I was young of cystic fibrosis. This song was a hit on the radio back then, and every time it would come on the radio she would stop whatever she was doing and make us dance.”
We listened to it for a second.
“Let’s dance Noah!”
Then I proceeded to turn our shelter tree into a strip pole, making my best out-of-shape-middle-aged-moves while traffic zipped by.
Horrified, Noah ran off from the tree to under a store front for shelter.
“I mean it Noah, let’s dance.” And I continued my stripper moves.
“There are people EVERYWHERE.”
I laughed again, “yes Noah, but no one is looking. You have to enjoy every moment Noah, and moments like this, stuck in the rain, with Celebration playing through the air, [with my son who I love dearly, something she could never have], this is what gives life meaning, and *this* is what makes characters great in a story.
A gave the tree one last turnaround.
As quickly as it had started, the rain started to taper off, and Noah used the pause to run to the green crosswalk sign ‘come on, let’s go!’
And just as we were crossing the street, the rain picked up again, even harder this timed so we jumped into the Starbucks on the other side of the street….(and that’s where I took the video of Noah watching the rain I posted earlier 🙂
(Side note, as we walked up to Starbucks, a guy did comment on pole dancing with the tree, which got a little look from Noah ‘I told you Mom’, but the comment was complementary and fun, like ‘you don’t see that every day in L.A, you go girl’–
And Noah got message 🙂
Now Noah is typing away…type type type…first time in a long time he’s written so many words in his novel without my encouraging him–
Like the pitter patter of rain.