Thursday, October 06, 2011

Healing the Mortal Injury

Slight improvement with the preschoolers last night. No tears, and one kid who refused to enter the room last week actually stayed this week. He still hid in the corner and didn't really participate, but he did some of the activities from his spot in the corner. I did come across the Mortal Injury, though. One of the kids called me over at one point, calling out, "Teacher! Teacher! She's hurt!" about one of the other girls, who then held up her finger to show me. The amount of drama surrounding the situation made me worry we'd have to pick up a severed fingertip and pack it on ice to get her to the emergency room. But I couldn't find anything wrong when investigating the allegedly injured finger. There was no blood, no sign of a scrape, no redness, no whiteness, no swelling, no funny angle. It just looked like a finger to me. I suspected the Mortal Injury was more like a Desperate Need for Attention (the child in question was a former clingy non-participator who has gradually warmed up), so I said, "Oh, you poor thing," and gave her a hug. I was immediately swarmed by little girls telling me stories of every injury they'd ever sustained in their lives and showing me the paper cuts they got in school that day. I think I may have added "nurse/doctor" to the Disney fairy princess superhero mom they seem to think I am.

The child soon forgot the injury and was actively involved in a game of zombie tag not long afterward when the kids were playing in the fellowship hall while the adults finished eating dinner. I was sitting to the side, reading a book on my phone and occasionally being bombarded by little kids and being turned into a zombie a few times. The way they described the game to me, the first time you get tagged, you get turned into a zombie, and then anyone you tag will also become a zombie (you have to move around like a zombie during this phase). Then the next time you get tagged, you get turned into a chicken (that phase was highly entertaining). After that, you get turned into Superman. If you get tagged after that, you're out, and you're back to being a normal person. You go through the phases pretty quickly if you stay in your seat, reading Dickens, and don't try to run away. It does actually sound like a fun game, but there's no way I could keep up with those kids.

I suppose I would be remiss if I didn't mention the passing of Steve Jobs. At first, I was a little bemused by all the Facebook tributes for someone most of these people never met, but then I realized that every one of my books was written on a Mac, so even someone I've never met can have an impact on my life. I got my first Mac in 1990 and am currently on my sixth. I suppose those books still would have been written on another computer, but I like being able to focus my time and energy on writing the books instead of messing with the computer. And the newest one is just plain pretty. I like the idea of the design mattering. Why not make things lovely as well as functional?

Going back to the earlier post about fantasy plausibility, I have to agree with the comments about how fantasy can become implausible when the author isn't consistent with the fantasy elements. I may be more willing to let that slide when it makes things more difficult for the characters instead of easier. For instance, one thing that kind of nags at me in the Harry Potter series is the fact that in most of the books they act like they can't do magic without wands (and preferably their own wands) and specific spells. If they have their wands taken away, they're entirely disarmed and helpless. But the whole opening of the first book was about how Harry managed to do all these magical things with no wand, no spells and no awareness that he was magical. He made his hair grow out when he got a bad haircut, escaped from bullies by levitating and made the glass in the snake's enclosure disappear. It wasn't just something that was in the first book and then forgotten because the last book showed in Snape's memories that Snape and Lily did bits of magic as children before they got wands. I can kind of handwave that inconsistency as it being an ability kids grow out of once they start learning proper magic (though it does seem odd to train people into needing a crutch) because being required to have a wand makes things harder. I'd have a problem if they'd established that they needed wands, and then Harry suddenly discovered that when he was in a bad situation he could just get himself out without needing a wand.

As for my wish for the couple who may be enemies but who like each other, I should probably clarify that. I was speaking in terms of that "fated/destined for each other" trope that comes up a lot in fantasy/paranormal romance. There are plenty of examples of enemies who fall in love. It's a classic Romeo and Juliet story (though hopefully without the characters being Too Stupid to Live), and that's one kind of romance novel I like (I used to be very fond of the Norman/Saxon medieval romances). The reason I threw in the enemies is that there's not much story without conflict, so a story about two people who are destined for each other and who seem made for each other and actually like each other would be boring. There has to be some monkey wrench thrown in, so have them made for each other but be on opposite sides of a conflict, with their destiny drawing them together. Or they could even be the kind of destined couple where their coming together will bring about something, so there are factions with a vested interest in keeping them apart. I think maybe my problem with the idea of a couple being fated for each other but being totally wrong for each other may be another one of those things where I can't believe it because it contradicts my personal beliefs. "Fate" or "destiny" to me boils down to "God," and I can't imagine that God would destine you for someone who was totally wrong for you in every way except sexually.

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