Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This and That

I saw a couple blog posts yesterday that not only made me stand up and cheer, but gave me that URGE to respond...

Digression: In California there is a burger chain famous for a variety of things... the double double cheeseburger (double burger, double cheese) among other things... but I am not a fast food connoisseur, in fact, though I can enjoy a burger now and then, hubby makes them often enough that it is EXTREMELY rare I eat one out, and THEN only from McMenamin's in Oregon, because the Captain Neon Burger is worthy of being my exception (a burger with bacon and bleu cheese dressing)--but it is a BIG burger... fast food burgers... NOT happening. I order a chicken sandwich or some other thing.

But I went to the University of California in Eugene... that is to say... California has so many colleges that the really GOOD ones feel no obligation to let in any but the BEST students. Oregon, with its significantly smaller population, will take students down to... say a 3.0 average (that will not get you into Berkeley my friends)... so instead of going to a LOWER tier California school, MANY California students came to Oregon's tier one institution... and complained for four years... There was too much rain. There was no fashion sense... There was nothing to do... You call this a BEACH? You can't SURF. (boy howdy on that one, rocks, logs and a riptide will get you, even if the wet suit made it comfortable—no mamby pamby beaches in Oregon, though I will wrestle ANYONE who claims a boring all sand beach is as gorgeous as Oregon's amazing coastline, and a person can walk from Coos Bay to Astoria and not find so much as a cigarette butt because Oregonians LOVE their beaches so much that they will even pick up litter left by losers (because ALL litterers are losers—no exceptions) *cough*. Say! That was a digression within a digression, which is just hot...

Anyway... along with complaining and rooting for hated California teams such as the HATED LAKERS and the San Francisco LOSER 49ers, the boys all had these SIGNS.... doors of their dorm or fraternity room... that read 'In and Out Urge' with the corners cut out on the bottom... signs that USED to read In and Out Burger... (nice phallic arrow and all). So I will concede one redeeming point to California students for use of innuendo, and another for my friends Vic and Kara (sure, Vic complained, but she also pointed out to me that chips and salsa and margaritas at El Torito covered all the food groups, and Kara never complained about anything... she was just groovy.) [note:  honestly I had a ton of Cal friends... but the complaining part is true]


So Back to My Urges

Extreme Parenting

Several of you know my buddy I'm Not Hannah... Heather (who isn't Hannah) is one of the most articulate people I know about life messing with us sometimes... about hard-to-admit truths like Parenting being hard. I think it went up Monday, but I saw this yesterday: Adventure Parenting talking about the difficulty we seem to have anymore letting kids... be kids... you know—the run off, get into stuff, explore, maybe find some trouble, fight with friends without a parent to make everyone be nice... SOLVE IT themselves... The stuff that was a part of most of OUR childhoods... We don't DO IT anymore. Some of this is rational... the world is more dangerous... some of it is parents trying to give their kids a leg up and scheduling EVERY FREAKING MINUTE. But I agree with what I took for her point... kids who don't venture out on their own are AFRAID, unable to adjust to the unexpected, unable to problem solve, they lack creativity. We are doing a VAST disservice.

My son's best friend has a mom who, like us (HWMNBMOTI and I), sees the value in letting kids go a bit rogue on occasion. Let them ride off on their bikes and find what they can.

I admit there are risks. My son has been seen out on ice that surely he shouldn't have been on, he's been busted (by another parent) for buying a BB gun he wasn't legally old enough to purchase, he's gotten caught in downpours CLEAR THE FRICK across town on his bike... but they make do... They figure it out...

I was a latchkey kid... I generally had a 'babysitter' until I was about 10, but that was generally a neighbor not much older than me. My mom just didn't want something to happen and nobody to know (as I was an only child). Kids supervised by kids get into stuff... and I did... And I'd venture to say the loose reins meant when I got to college, though I went a little wild (because I was experienced at it and... you know... I'm me...) I knew HOW to go a little wild without consequences. I didn't get pregnant or arrested, or have anything horrible happen. The Portland girls who, for understandable reasons, seemed to come from much more supervised environments, went a little nuts... Some made some mistakes. I think PRACTICE at making mistakes when a person is close to home makes for less drastic mistakes when the consequences are bigger.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it.



On a Completely Unrelated Note

Amanda Hocking has been all over the internet, yes? I've had several (non-writer) friends stick her out as an example of 'what I should do' *rolls eyes* (if only... I know they mean well... heck, one was my MOTHER). I was prepared to write her (Amanda) off (I can be a reverse-snob about that kind of success). I would have been wrong. Yesterday Kristen Nelson posted a link to a blog Amanda wrote last week that was WONDERFULLY articulate about the the 'freak incident' component of the overnight success she's had. She talks about the YEARS of work she's put in and the MANY hours a week she spends promoting, but also points out writers doing the EXACT SAME success formula... writers she says write BETTER, but she was the one to hit... whatever... the publishing lottery. After reading the blog, I think I love her. I have no idea if her books are any good, but her humility and realism in addressing this make me think she is a superstar.


So Happy Hing Day Everyone!

28 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I've been watching the Amanda Hocking story with interest. She seems like a very genuine, humble person...a good person to be in this situation. If she were obnoxious, we'd all be seriously disliking her. :)

As far as the parenting, my husband and I have talked about the same thing several times. Kids sometimes just need to be able to go out and play without hovering. Not to say I won't slip the kids a cell phone...just in case. :)

Rachael Harrie said...

It's amazing how Amanda is such the focus of attention right now! And she seems so lovely and genuine about her success. Gives us all a teensy bit more hope too ;)

Hugs,

Rach

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

Oh man, I was sick yesterday! I will go read her post. It's wonderful to read and learn about the process of overnighters and their success and the humility of some them. She sounds lovely and I will check that out at some point today. I saw it on my blog roll.
As for kids not venturing out. I noticed it with my youngest cousin, a 17 year gap in age. I remember that I was on my bike or playing or probably getting into mild trouble nearly every night. The curfew was, dinner, and the the street light. Once the lights came on it was time to go inside. My parents were particularly good at letting me be a creative mess. They were strict yes, but they knew that I HAD to create and my room was a testiment to the insanity in my head. They just played along and let me be me. I stayed out of more troubl because I had a healthy respect for them because I had my freedom and privacy with a healthy dose of the evil eye from my mother now and then. I had no real reason to rebel in the later years.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Biking all over town - back in the day when it was safe to do so - I remember those times.

Hart Johnson said...

Elizabeth- totally agree--if someone acts like they deserve it, even, it is harder to take because it implies OTHER people don't. And my kids have their cell phones, too. If you give them the tools to get in trouble, best give them the tools to call for help!

Rachael-I love that 'hope for us all' piece, too. You know, that doesn't have to be just brand new writers, either. Suzanne Collins had decent success with her early books, but I think Hunger Games was her 3rd series and the one that finally really broke her out as a superstar.

Erica-that respect angle is big, too. And trust--trusting your kids I believe leads to better decision making eventually. People who only do the right thing because they think they are being watched never really learn why they REALLY should do the right thing.

Hart Johnson said...

Alex-We fortunately live someplace it still IS pretty safe. And I am a full-disclosure parent, so they know the things to watch for.

Lisa Potts said...

Great post by Amanda. Thanks for the link.

My mom thinks I give my kids too much "exploring time", but if they never have those experiences, how are they ever going to make smart decisions on their own?

Katie Mills said...

I hear you about parenting now a'days. Maybe its because my hubby grew up in the city rather than out int he country side like me and we're living in a highly populated suburb-but my kids just don't seem to have the same love of nature I had. Or the same desire to throw themselves around, run head first into couches, climb trees, do cartwheels, etc... My oldest despises any physical activity and is afraid of everything; heights, loud noises, the dark, animals, water, etc...she's seven years old.
And YES! Two non writing family members also sent me the hocking's article recently like 'look! you should do this!' lol

Carol Kilgore said...

I totally agree that kids need that freedom to be kids. It's how they learn and grow. I was a streetlight kid, too. When they came on, I had to hightail it home.

Hart Johnson said...

Lisa--funny how these moms that gave freedom, as grandparents want structured stuff for their grandkids--my mom always wonders why we aren't involved in this to that... she thinks we should be GOING TO stuff all the time...

Katie-too funny that you have relatives doing the same! Maybe it is just that she has made such news that the non-writing public is hearing about her and it's all they know of it. And My daughter had a pretty high level of 'chicken' as a kid (and had to be pushed to be active)--she lived in a big city until she was 5, so that was part of the paranoia. My son is totally fearless and nearly never sits still (though he does have days he only moves his thumbs, if you know what I mean (Play Station)) We move here, though, well before his memory starts (he was 1 1/2)

Carol-in the summer, we were out until we got called--neighborhood full of kids, didn't need to go more than a block, but later than dark... like 9:30 or 10, playing kick the can or some such thing.

Michael Offutt said...

I love Amanda Hocking. She's been such a great inspiration just hearing her story. I followed her on Twitter and on her blog just to keep up with what she's doing. Although the woman seems to absolutely adore Jersey Shore--eep.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

well... now i want a burger. Sigh.
I'm completely with you there on letting the kids do advernturous things.

VR Barkowski said...

I have great memories of being a kid, out on my bike, exploring 'til dark. When I think of some of the places I ended up—I was inordinately fond of cemeteries and construction sites—I wonder how I avoided an accident. It's sad that safety has become such an issue for children, and I wonder how overprotective I'd be if I had kids. Pretty sure I'd make a lousy parent.

And FWIW, my family's been in California for six generations and I graduated UC Berkeley, but I agree the beauty of the Oregon coast has no equal. My goal is to retire there and do nothing but look out the window and write.

I also dislike fast food, but, hey, no fair picking on the 49ers. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Michael- Jersey Shore!? Eep is right! Though i do know people who appreciate the 'so bad it's good' scale, and she might be applying that... And frankly, her target writing market might be into all that... My teen loves it.

Sarah *snicker* Sorry to make you hungry...

VR-you and I can get condos in the same town and meet for a beer when we need a writing break (I'd also love to retire there)... Sorry I picked on the 49ers... sort of...

Helena said...

Ever wonder what kind of novels over-protected kids might someday write? Maybe some good fantasy or scifi books, but not real-world classics like Huck Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird.

The one time I drove up the Oregon coast, I was stunned at how beautiful it was. Next time I'll take long days checking it out.

Carol Riggs said...

Absolutely--I read Amanda's blog post and was impressed by her humble attitude and great explanation of her success. Key words: work hard and write well. :) Happy Wednesday, Hart!

Old Kitty said...

We love us some wild NAKED tart!!!!

Oh but I am so behind the Nakedness stakes as I had to really try and see the "ooo-er missus, titter ye not" double entendre to the burger sign. Ahem.

Yay Amanda Hocking too - I wish her all the best!!!

Take care
x

Clarissa Draper said...

Great mish mash of items. Hmm, did I spell that right? Anyway, I haven't heard of Amanada Hocking so I'm not sure what's going on but I'll check out the sites. I'm with you about parenting. I've got such a tight grip on my son I'm not sure I'm a great example but I see the good in the idea.

M Pax said...

Oh, a fellow Oregonian. I'm not a native, but I love this state and the beaches and the nowhere places and dirt roads with no name.

Looking forward to your blogfest next week. :)

Mary Vaughn said...

If I hadn't stumbled on Amanda Previous to this hoopla I would be tempted to not like her much. I don't think age has a lot to do with writing other than life experience. If you write about things that are not real - zombies, vampires and the like who is going to say it's not true.
Amanda put a lot of time and effort in her writing and hit things at the right time. She is still working very hard.

Hart Johnson said...

Helena-Oh, good question! I bet you're right! Lots of fantasy, as the only real living the get is through books. And LOTS of great stuff to check out on the Oregon Coast...

Carol-Happy Wednesday to you too! I think you're right that the 'work hard and write well' are what you can control. I just wish that was ALL it was.

Jenny--teehee--yeah, that urge thing might be more American...

Clarissa-I suspect you are in a 'have to watch them' position. I know Mexico has some real danger hot spots.

MPax-I lived in Oregon 84-2000 and I miss it ALL THE TIME, but my job tract dictated a move, so we are in Ann Arbor, MI now. (I grew up in Idaho)

Mary-I think you're right that fantasy doesn't require the same life lessons to write... I mean SOME of it... romance is better with some experience... then again, middle aged me isn't very sympathetic to people who get dumb over love, so maybe I have TOO MUCH experience on that front...

LTM said...

can't remember if I told you we're currently in San Francisco for JRM work conference. We came a day early to spend a few nights in Mendocino, and ALL JRM would say on the drive up was "In and Out Burger! Let's stop!" Me: "No! We'll never get there!"

In other news, I read that post by AH, and then I went and downloaded her 99-cent book. I'm all about supporting that degree of hard work and level-headedness. She seems like a good kid. I wish her continued success~ :o) <3 U~

Cold As Heaven said...

That double-double burger made hungry.

I kind of like that Extreme Parenting attitude, maybe not too extreme, but the principles. You need to practice and make mistakes to learn. That's very much the way I do it with my boys. I works in different ways. When Older Boy comes into the reception in the local Hospital they just laugh when they punch his name into the computer system. He's been a frequent customer throughout the years; concussions, sewing, broken fingers, broken teeth, X-ray of this and that. Little Boy has hardly ever seen a doctor. They have both been brought up in the same way, by the same parents >:)

Cold As Heaven

Arlee Bird said...

In-n-Out is okay for fast food, but it's not my favorite. I've got two locations within a couple miles from my house but I probably only go there every four months or so. My daughters head to In-n-Out first thing whenever they come to visit--then they come to see me.

I heard of Amanda Hocking a couple weeks ago and looked at her blog. I was impressed with what I read there.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Julie Hedlund said...

Loved the Adventure Parenting post - pretty much articulates all of my own feelings about parenting in this age. Thanks for sharing.

And yeah, so.. Amanda Hocking. I read her post too and respected her so much for not acting like the bigshot that could and pointing out that she has to work VERY hard. She seems pretty put together for a twenty-something millionaire/overnight success.

Cheeseboy said...

In and Out has nothing on Five Guy, but Five Guys does not have any sexual undertones to it's name. Or does it???

Missed Periods said...

I don't have kids, but what scares me about having kids is that, even though I TOTALLY agree with you, I will freak out and lock them in the house because I will be so worried something will happen to them and they will turn out to be freaks.

Hart Johnson said...

Leigh-I DID see you were in SF! Lucky! Funny that JRM likes In and Out! I think every guy I know who has spent time in Cal likes it better than other options. And good for you for supporting new authors!

CaH-I imagine you are an adventure parent—what with all the ski adventures. And our kids are opposite too—one is a risk taker and one really ISN’T.

Lee-I imagine it is one of those things you crave more when you can’t have it! There are a couple places in my home town that I never really frequented until I left. And Amanda seems pretty darned grounded in reality, doesn’t she?

Julie-You’re WELCOME! Heather so often ‘speaks to me’ if you will—she just is so honest—in a way that can make you laugh and cry at the same time. And I think that twenty something IS part of why the Amanda thing is so surprising, though it really shouldn’t be. I have a number of young writer friends who are FABULOUS. She seems though, both very mature, and really really grounded.

Abe-Five Guys most certainly DOES have sexual undertones, and REALLY should be the favorite of the ladies! (though I’ve never been anywhere that had them, I don’t think)

MP-it really can be hard to let go a little, but with practice, it works. I was so much more paranoid with my first (and she picked that up and is now paranoid)