August 2012

Interpretation of the Story

August 15, 2012

As Jacob and Elwood are getting a bit older, and their taste and joy in books is getting more extensive, we have an opportunity to talk about how a book comes together, what it is that they love when they are reading a good book, and how a book can be interpreted in many different forms. While my kids know that certain books, like the Lorax, have been turned into movies, I have to admit that I was kind of surprised that we had never really discussed how many other mediums books are represented in.

After a recent discussion on art and literature, I walked the boys upstairs and showed them the two paintings that hung to the side of their beds. Next to Jacob’s is a painting of Turtle Tower from Yurtle the Turtle. Over Elwood’s, a scene from Oh the Places You’ll Go. “These are moments from some of your favorite books. They are moments that meant something to the artist, that they wanted to capture with just their brush stroke. This is how this artist interprets the words on the page.”

Explaining that interpretation is subjective to an 8 and 6 year old seemed like a silly endeavor, so instead we grabbed some paper, pencils, crayons, and our favorite books, and interpreted a favorite moment from a favorite book.

Watching my children get lost in a book always feels like magic to me, but watching them create a moment from that book brings that magic to life. Encouraging them to create the look of the characters, the background, the costumes allows them to become interactive with the story, and to engage it in a whole new way.

This was a project that they both took their time on, thought about, and wanted to do solely for themselves. Both of the drawings now hang beside the Dr. Seuss pieces that began this discussion, and hopefully stand as a reminder that stories can come to life in many different ways.

This is a project that I hope to expand on in the future, and to really use to show the connection between stories and our creative spirit.  I hope to see them act out their favorite scenes, paint, draw and sketch their favorite characters, rewrite new endings, and compose a compelling score. These are all ways that they can play with their favorite books, and bring each piece that they love to life.

Books do not stand alone in our lives. They are portals for our imagination, and children seem especially open to jumping in and exploring every last detail.

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To Boston with Love

August 14, 2012

I know that it has been a while since I have been here, but I swear I have a good excuse.

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to travel “home” for the wedding of my oldest and dearest friend. My journey to Boston began over a year ago, when I received a jubilant phone call from my friend Karen letting me know that she was engaged. The idea of returning to where I was born was so very exciting for me, as it had been years since I had last visited.

What began as a trip to see an old friend……

Ended with meeting new ones.

You see, when I first started planning to go to Boston, I knew that there was one special friend that I just had to find a way to meet. Julia and I have been friends now for what seems like many years, and even though we have spent hundreds of hours chatting on Skype, and we work together every single day, we had never met in person.

My travels had taken me close, to Pennsylvania and Maryland, but the timing had never been right. Boston was the ticket, and I am so grateful that Julia made the trek down to join me for a few days. As I rounded the corner at Logan airport, and gave my sweet friend a real hug, I was overwhelmed with just how much this amazing blogging and internet world of ours can create important friendships.

We arrived at our hotel, which somehow sat right next to the same theater that my parents took me to first see the Nutcracker when I was just Landon’s age. We walked the same streets that my mother pushed me in my stroller, and Landon fed the same ducks (well, hopefully not the same ones), that I fed as a toddler. We talked, we ate, and we had the incredible privilege of meeting another blogging friend whose work and words have graced us over the last few years.

I am not sure how Amy and I even brought up the subject of my travels to Boston, but I am so very glad that we did. Amy, her two beautiful daughters, Julia, Landon and I spent an afternoon filled with many conversations, running through puddles, a collection of stuffed animals (Landon’s first), and a lot of getting to know each other a little better.

Amy is one of those women who you could just sit and talk to all day long. Even with 3 kids, a very hot day (as well as some rain), and a lot of walking through the streets of Boston, she always had the sweetest of smiles. I think that all of us knew it would never be enough time to do and say all that we wanted, but it was a perfect beginning to a long friendship.

On our final day, Julia and I decided that a trip as important and special as this one certainly deserved some time at the Cape. So, with all the nostalgia in mind that I could think of, we headed to the same beach that my mama took me to as a little one, and the same beach that I played with Karen on when we were just starting out as friends. It seemed appropriate, as old friends and new ones converged, and this trip firmly etched itself into an important place in my life.

We sat for those last few hours just talking and watching Landon get his little toes wet. It was hard to let go, to say goodbye, but I could not have asked for more. I laughed out loud as she pulled away from my hotel just as Karen was pulling in. How much more symbolism could one person need?

Of course, the journey ended watching my friend of almost 37 years marry. It was a beautiful day, a blessed ceremony, and the perfect ending to a perfect trip. I have always counted myself so lucky in the friends that I have, and this trip certainly showed me that friendships can both survive the test of time and distance, as well as be created in almost any circumstance. It certainly is an experience that I will not soon forget.

 

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