Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, October 24, 2003

So, what’s with this book thing?

Oh, you know, as I said, sometimes I think odd things.

I don’t think there’s anyone who writes a weblog who doesn’t have some idea in their mind that they could make the leap to ink on paper. I’ve thought about such silliness before, and then the other morning as I was driving along to work after dropping the kids off at school, I got to thinking about the Toothbrush Stories.

I’ve obliquely mentioned these before, but the whole story is that Catherine has to be wrenched out of bed each morning and is usually in a foul mood. I shove some pants and a shirt on her, some socks (which usually match) and her shoes (which always stink) and brush her tangle of curls—all of which conspire to make her even more bothered. Then it’s time to go brush teeth, which, given all the past moments of disputation, is not always as easy as it should be.

I shovel her toward the bathroom, and remind her that Dr. Nancy doesn’t want all of her teeth to get holes in them, so she has to brush them really, REALLY good. With which she occasionally does not wish to comply. So, one day I offered to tell her the story of Catherine and the Three Cavity-Prone Bears (which included a side plot of head trauma caused by leaping out of a window, as well as a thrilling epilogue of being eaten by bears). She listened intently as she vigorously scrubbed her teeth.

So was born the idea of an ongoing series of improbable tales along the lines of Fractured Fairy Tales, mixed with a large dollop of Burying the Cat, swirled in a cup of good, hot joe, and raging fear of dental equipment. The stories, after all, are usually centered on a protagonist who has either very poor, or very fastidious, oral hygiene.

They usually have some contemporary popular culture elements, like the time Britney Spears was devoured by a wolf (which was okay, because he brushed afterwards). They are improvisational, and I make no effort to explain various excursions into obscurity, such as who Rita Hayworth is, and why she keeps turning up in the stories; nor what a Van de Graaff generator is, and what use it would have to a magic frog. It doesn’t seem to matter one bit, though—she will mockingly protest, “That’s not the way the story goes!” when all the king’s men go to the barracks and wash their hands after touching the filthy, salmonella-laden Humpty-Dumpty—but in the end, she does get her teeth brushed, and winds up in a decent mood.

The question is, is there a way to condense all that down into something that anyone would actually WANT in their house, much less as something to read to their children? Hence the questions yesterday about anyone who has done any of that book stuff. It’s just an idea right now, and I have zero knowledge of what all actually goes on, other than you get an $8 million advance.

And thanks to those of you who had something to say—yes, Vachon, I do incorporate persons I know into stories. Heh. BWUHHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!! Ahem—pardon me.

Jim Smith, nope, not a “great book” in the normal sense of “great,” which according to my MSWord thesaurus is synonymous with huge, immense, enormous, vast, large, big, grand. I see it being easily carried by no more than two persons using a hydraulic lift. As for the religious aspect, we might have a story or two about Moses playing in the sink, parting the water with his toothbrush. Maybe one about Rahab the harlot, who kept a pretty big supply of spare toothbrushes. One of my favorites is the story of Jael, who spiked Sisera’s head to the floor with a tent peg, although that one’s hard to work into a kid’s story about brushing your teeth.

And many thanks to Dave Helton, who left a comment as well as sent me a very nice e-mail, which contained lots of helpful advice AND positive reinforcement. I live for constant positive reinforcement, you know.

Anyway, that’s what that was all about.

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