Daily Archives: February 23, 2010

100 Legos

I could, quite possibly, be the world’s worst mom.  I certainly would make one lousy elephant.  Forgetting Book It’s, show and tell and snack are my most consistent flaws.  You’d think I’d have it figured out after the fourth kid.  But no, the 100th day of school (and the requisite 100 small things) eluded me yesterday. 

I wonder if I can begin a new literary genre: bad moms?  If so, I would surely make the endcap…

Anyway, just as I pulled up to the drop off circle, I noted a mom standing beside her car with a box of cereal on the roof.  I have no idea what it was doing there, but it triggered a mild panic attack, followed closely by the realization that I had, again, failed to remember an important event in my kids’ academic careers.

“Youngest,” said I.  “We forgot your 100 things for your 100 days of school.  Let’s go home and get them.”

“That’s okay, Mommy.”  Maybe the new genre should be Bad Moms and the kids who still love them. 

So, home we went.  Me rattling off all the different things we have in the house that equal 100 pieces.  Him vetoing every one of them.  Me growing increasingly distressed that we will have nothing suitable to share with his friends.  Him oblivious to the fact that if a mom could fail kindergarten, I was well on my way.

Enter my epiphany just as we rounded the corner of our street.  I gave it one last shot.  “Legos?”

We rushed inside, dumped the bucket of 2074 legos onto the floor and began counting out pieces and dropping them into a baggie.  Of course he picked the oddest pieces.  Strangely shaped ones, half bodies of Lego men and tree parts.  His teacher was going to think we’re schizo. 

One hundred pieces later, I grabbed the instruction sheet off the counter, noted that Youngest was supposed to present his conglomeration of 100 things as a riddle for his peers to guess.  Enter the brown paper bag (to hide the plastic-bagged Legos) and some quick thinking and he’s smiling when I drop him off.

Crisis averted. 

Writing is kind of like that.  We start with an idea–which can roughly be summed up in 100 words.  We gather together the pieces and put them into a paper bag.  Then, we provide a teaser and pray that our readers will be interested enough to open the bag and see our masterpieces.

The tricky part is sticking all those odd shapes into a cohesive unit.  I’m quite sure the kindergarten teacher expected a bag full of Cheerios.  Or maybe M&M’s or Skittles.  Not, however, a mixed bag of cereal and candy to create a new category of 100 treats like I pieced together for my DD on her 100th day of school.

But that’s the fun in writing.  Finding new ways to create compelling stories.  Bringing together new elements in a category all their own.  Delivering something unexpected and delightful rather than mundane and common place. 

The literary landscape is changing.  Subgenres pop up all the time.  While our economic climate makes it risky to take on a newbie, a unique conglomeration of words, ideas and characters just might be the ticket to breaking in.

If you were to create a new subgenre, what would would you piece together?