Sunday, June 21, 2015

A note about my musical dad

This Father's Day, I give my dad credit for my relationship with the sounds of words. Which is no small thing.

My dad is a musical guy. He reads Torah, which involves memorizing chants and vowel sounds to read from a scroll where neither is printed, almost every week, and sometimes leads services as well. His conversation is often interspersed with lines from songs--why say you're going to have fun when you can channel the Beach Boys and predict "Fun Fun Fun?" Mention a familiar movie, and he'll sing its theme music. Hand him a book to read aloud, and you'll learn any song out there with its characters' names in the lyrics.

Even when he's not actually singing, he's putting things in rhythm. I realized recently that every time I count to five, I'm using the rhythm he used to teach first-grade me to spell write for a spelling test: W! R! I-T-E! My childhood was dotted with ditties; my little sister's name was tough for a four-year-old to learn, but who could forget it after a few dozen repetitions of "Leora does the horah, while she studies Torah?"

And then there are the puns. My dad isn't the sole influence (see also: grandfather; uncle who can't hear flexible without saying Flaxible), but he has influenced my soul. When you mention a skirt, it's absolutely necessary for my dad to say, "Let's not skirt the issue." When I think of a pun and I'm anywhere near Twitter, I will mistweet the English language.

As those who know me are aware, I love me some rhyme and meter. I don't sing especially well, but I love writing song parodies and noticing which song lyrics fit to which other songs' melodies. I have an ISBN song, similar to "Camptown Races," that helps me make sure I haven't missed any digits. In short, my life is a life of earworms.

Thanks, Dan the Man. Happy Father's Day.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Revisions and shenanigans

Just a peek out of hiding to say that I sent the second round of revisions back to my agent this weekend. The first round was big enough that finishing it felt momentous; in fact, I rewarded myself by finally subscribing to Netflix. The existence of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt may also have played a role in that decision, but I held off until the draft was done, thank you very much.

The second round was less of a big deal; I found myself rewriting bits of scenes, rather than writing entire new ones. But both revisions so far have driven home the point that it's okay to lighten up. Creating characters and giving them funny things to say comes more naturally to me than unleashing the fury of plot upon them, and I think that knowing that, I focused extra-hard on the latter. A few unnecessarily serious plot elements are gone or altered now, leaving just the most important ones so the weight of the story lands where it's supposed to. And there are more shenanigans. Because characters with funny things to say are funnier when they have funny things to do.

Also, apparently some kids break the rules at camp. Who knew?*

*I'm not saying I totally believed the counselor who said our lips would fall off if we didn't sing. I'm just saying I got to know a lot of camp songs very well.