Thursday, September 30, 2010

I can write. I can spell. I just can't write, hear, think and speak at the same time.

Lately, I have been one tired, stressed and very pre-occupied writer. Here's how I know.

Preteen son pops his head into my office. I don't even turn in my chair. This is what I hear him asking: "Mom, what are band books?"

Me, staring at screen and cursing the words which are stubbornly resisting my efforts to corral them into place, an activity in which we've been mutually engaged for five hours: "Uh, I don't know. Books about bands?"

Son, sounding perplexed: "So can I read one?"

Me, momentarily grateful this can be solved with a quick click to an online bookseller: "Sure, how about the Beatles?" I finally turn to look at him.

Son, looking at me as if I have lost many thousands of brain cells since breakfast, which I may have: "No, a banned book. B-A-N-N-E-D. I saw a poster at school that said 'Read a banned book this week.' "

I know about the long, sorry lists of banned books and challenged books. I know that this is Banned Books Week. I know I can explain this to my son, an energetic and curious reader. I want to have that conversation. I want to tell him ten or a hundred things about banned books and let him know about libraries and book stores holding events to mark the occasion.

But I'm tired, stressed and pre-occupied. So I give him a two sentence summary and offer a simple link. Then I wonder why, in a school which (thankfully) displays a Banned Books protest poster, he hasn't already heard this from a teacher. Then I yawn and look back at my screen. I once read that creative folks perform better after a nap. Might be a good idea to test that theory.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,
Your son may have known what a banned book was but wasn't sure you did. We parents are always being checked out, measured where we fall on a very slippery sliding scale. Even though his eyes appear to glaze over, make a quick apology for not focusing on the conversation, mention the banned books you read in your teens (especially if you had to sneak them), and tell him your pleased with his curiosity.

Remember, you're doing a better job than you think.

mother of three enjoyable adult children--proof there is hope said...

Very funny! But look, you had the clarity to embed all those links! Perhaps that was after the nap?

kario said...

Sometimes it is so much more powerful for kids to look up concepts on their own. I'm impressed that you offered him some resources and I'm betting he'll want to talk to you after he's read the book(s) he chose.

And naps are important. Especially for writers ;-)t