Inappropriate, Meet Responsible

So I was driving my kids around the other day. The two of them, ages 3 and 1, were chilling in the back seat and I had the radio on. A song came on which I happen to like: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” If you’ve never heard the song, listen to it here:

Inappropriate lyrics for the preschool set? Yes. Incredibly catchy in a seventies disco kind of way? Also yes. So I have to decide. Leave it on or change the station?

I say to myself, “My kids are too young to understand these lyrics. I can keep it on.”

After the first chorus, the three-year-old pipes up. “Get lucky?” she asks from the back seat. “What does that mean? That’s funny!”

“Yeah,” I say, sheepishly turning the volume down. “It is funny, isn’t it?”

For the record, I believe in being honest with children. If they ask the question, they deserve a developmentally appropriate and truthful answer. In this case, there was no developmentally appropriate way to tell her what “Get lucky” means in this context, except to explain that lucky is when good things happen to you. OK, that is kind of what the song is about. But it felt wrong to deliberately mislead her. I guess I wanted to keep my track record of being straightforward with her. And that means sometimes withholding information if she’s not ready for it, not making something up or stretching the truth. Fortunately on this occasion she didn’t push it.

My three-year-old has never asked how babies are made. Even when I was pregnant, she never wondered aloud how her baby sister got inside Mommy’s tummy in the first place. If/when she does ask, I’ll tell her in words she can understand. If I think she’s not ready, I’ll tell her we can talk about it when she’s a little older. In the meantime, we laughed together at the funny song then moved on.

But maybe I’ll stick with NPR for a while. The kid is a big fan of pledge drives.

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Writing Magic

The first blog post is supposed to introduce me to the world. Since most of you reading this probably know me personally, that seems unnecessary. If you don’t know me and have stumbled on my blog, welcome! You can read about me on my website, mariahklein.com. So I guess I will use the space to talk about writing.

I’ve been writing fiction now for four and a half years. I’ve written a lot in that time. Have I logged the 10,000 hours they say are a prerequisite for really getting good at something? Not sure. I haven’t exactly been keeping a time sheet.

Given that I have a husband, two children, a job, friends and extended family, and that I like to do things like yoga, running, walking, reading, cooking and having a social life, maybe not. Do I think getting to 10,000 hours is important? Absolutely.

You get better at something by practicing. Period. No other way. Sorry to all of you who are relying on hoping and magic.Writing is more than putting words on paper, or a computer screen, or God forbid, a typewriter. It’s opening yourself to the creativity within you and the inspiration outside of you. When those things come together, stories, characters and worlds are created. It’s not magic. But it’s like magic. Magic that depends on lots and lots of practice.