NaNoWriMo Reflections

Novel“If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” –David Bowie

I have a certain writing style with my fiction. I quite like it. But sometimes it feels a little too comfortable. My goal for NaNoWriMo this year was to make myself uncomfortable. Since I not only changed up my style but also wound up telling a story that involved a rapist movie star and a suicidal transvestite dominatrix, I think I accomplished that.

So, I spent 29 days banging out 50,000 words without doing any pre-planning ahead of time. What do I have here? Honestly, it’s a mess. But it’s a glorious mess that I’m quite happy with.

Continue reading

Raising Future Gentleman Isn’t As Straightforward As It Seems

Boy CrusaderEvery school day, my daughter waits at the bus stop with another girl and a little boy. The parents chat in the cold until the bus finally rolls around the corner and down the block. As the kids line up, the boy’s father tells his son to show some chivalry and let the girls go first.

Because this has become daily routine, the words “Ladies first” have stuck in my head. I definitely don’t want to fault the dad for trying to raise a gentleman. But I now wonder what the definition of a gentleman really is. Does chivalry serves its purpose in a society where people better recognize gender inequality?

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

Your Kids’ Halloween Candy will Last for a Year if You Let It

Halloween Candy

Halloween is over, but the candy remains. We’ve entered the season of sugar. From here through the end of the year, most of America will find itself buried under an avalanche. Even after that, Valentine’s Day and Easter lurk around the corner in 2018.

Despite the sugar boom that’s about to happen, many parents (myself included) try to ration Halloween candy. There might be no such thing as a sugar high, but a massive candy binge can still create lots of headaches — and stomachaches — if kids eat too much too fast.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

Is Old-School Pokémon Going to Give my Kids Nightmares?

Pokemon

My kids are officially obsessed with Pokémon. In a way, this is great news for me. After years of dealing with the likes of Thomas and Friends, I can finally bond with them without having to do any research. I was into Pokémon in the 1990s, so the kids are in my wheelhouse now.

I gleefully fired up a game of Pokémon Red for the kids to share my introduction to the franchise with them. Unfortunately, it was only after I got them hooked on the game that I remembered the downside to sharing my childhood entertainment with them: some of those early installments are really messed up.

I’m not talking about the dissonant nature of a game that talks about the importance of treating Pokémon well but then encourages you to capture them and force them to battle. That’s a flaw of the whole franchise, but it falls under the mantle of, “this is just a video game, so don’t overthink it.”

No, I’m talking about a place called Lavender Town. That’s where the original games go from fun-filled adventures with cartoon creatures to creepy horror with some truly disturbing backstory. Lavender Town is where the game introduces ghost Pokémon, and as far as I know it’s the only part of the franchise to really explore death.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

How Do You Talk to Your Kids About Racism in America?

Racism

I live in a small town in New England. Beautiful fall foliage, cold winters, friendly neighbors…the type of place you find on greeting cards. Well, except that most greeting cards don’t mention the occasional racism and Nazi iconography.

That unfortunate graffiti rests on the sidewalk near my kids’ bus stop. The swastika served as a reminder that there are stupid jerks everywhere. It also serves as a reminder that I need to talk to my kids about race in America.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

The Many Worlds of D&D, part one

Dungeon Master

Dungeons & Dragons has never been about one single fantasy world. In fact, beginning in the 1980s, the game spawned a multiverse that stands on par with anything churned out in the comic book industry. Through the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition years especially, D&D became home to dozens of parallel fantasy worlds.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

What Happens When Jailed Women Have Babies? They Become Moms

Incarcerated Mom and Child

In a country with more than 215,000 women in prison as of 2014, what happens to an incarcerated mother-to-be? An estimated three to four percent of women enter prison pregnant, which often means an uncomfortable birth and an immediate separation from their child. One photographer, Cheryl Hanna-Truscott, has used her talents to showcase an alternative.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!