The other day I came across this article on Twitter. I know it’s long. It’s too long, but it reflects the endless, sempiternal questioning that rumbles in the back of my mind. Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing in this life? Am I living up to my potential? I mean, what woman doesn’t question if she should stay home with the kids, go out of the house and work, do both, do all, be all.
I love my children. I’m happiest when I’m with them, taking care of them, teaching them. Still, sometimes I found out high school friends are climbing Aconcagua and all I’ve climbed is the pile of laundry after “our” spring break vacation.
I know I’m good at creating a home, at nurturing and teaching. I just fear I’ll lose my identity as ME if I give my all. The other day, Princess Swan gave me this letter.
It made my day. It made my life worth every second, even the ones I spent wiping vomit or driving back to school because a certain kid missed the bus.
When I was in Barcelona, I was struck by the magic of that beautiful city: the Gaudi buildings, the cathedral, Santa Maria del Mar. The thing that touched my heart the most though was this statue of Mary in an alcove in the cathedral. It’s entitled, Our Lady of Happiness. It doesn’t depict Mary as the queen of angels, but as the Queen of her family. Mary, just holding her child. You can even catch a glimpse of a tiny smile on her, right? I don’t intend to be a queen, although my Princess Peach made me feel like one. Maybe the feeling will remain with me always. The years do go by so fast, and I’m blessed beyond measure.
Last summer, I had the privilege of attending the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference (WIFYR) with the amazing Martine Leavitt. I learned so much during that week, that months later, I’m still processing all the wonderful information.
One of the things that impressed me the most was when Martine taught us the principle of “the object of desire.” What does the main character want? Is it clear on the first page? On the first chapter at the very least?
Ever since, I haven’t been able to read a book or watch a movie without looking for the main character’s object of desire, or the dilemma.
My first grader brought home a story that he wrote at school.
I’m going to transcribe it here (misspellings and all) because I think it’s a great example of showing the main character’s dilemma.
If my mom and dad were snowpeople I would cook and do the dishes.
I would make a igloo for the snowpeople.
If my mom cook she would melt.
If my dad stayed inside he would melt.
If I stayed with them I would be a snowman.
I am so sad.
First of all, allow me, AWWWW. Isn’t it cute?
Can you see the main character’s dilemma? The parents would melt if they stayed with the boy, in the house. If the boy stayed with the parents, he would become a snowperson too.
I wish I learned this in first grade too 🙂
What do you think? Do you think it’s important to know the dilemma in the first pages? Why? Why not?