The Thing with Joy

Today Jo, in the Monday morning warm up, challenged us to help our main character find joy in a scene “without using over-used or predictable words or phrases.” Since this morning warm up goes with the mini lesson on Kate’s blog, I thought I would cheat and do a two-for-one special.

I loved this suggestion by Kat Yeh today for the Monday mini lesson in Teachers Write. She told us to experiment with giving our main character a Thing or more than one. Something they are passionate and obsessed over — poetry, recipes, jellyfish, reading A Wrinkle in Time were some of the examples she gave. Hopefully it will be something meaningful to push the plot forward as well.

In one scene I’ve given Bailey a passion about noticing the moon phases, but that was only because of another Teachers Write lesson.

Is he really passionate about the moon? Does it move the plot forward? Probably not.

What would help him to be obsessed about? Making stuff perhaps, which is another plan. He does make a model of the Mars Curiosity. How could that move the plot along? Something to think about.

Anyway, I’m not sure of the answers to those questions yet, but I did write a bit today. Hopefully it shows joy in Bailey doing his thing with cardboard and his dad.

After dinner, Bailey brought out the cardboard cartons he and his mom had collected. Small to large, paperboard and corrugated. He laid them out in order of size–one tiny jewelry box, three Life cereal boxes (his favorite), four Xerox paper boxes with lids, and one jumbo Pampers box. Bailey could work a good box like a bear in Yellowstone works a locked cooler.  The challenge of unlocking the power and creativity in a cardboard box gave Bailey a thrill.

Bailey’s room had more cardboard and duct tape than it had store-bought furniture. He had a headboard made with “tie-dye” painted cardboard, a model of the Spirit of St. Louis inits fawn-colored glory hung from the ceiling, and a frame with cutout cardboard fish adorned the perimeter of his fish tank.

He never did tell his mom that the folding chair she had been looking for is actually serving as the base for his cardboard armchair. It was safe from discovery because the metal chair was completely encased in cardboard and a roll of duct tape. It took another three rolls of rainbow duct tape to cover the cushions.

Now, dinner was finished, Dad was home and ready to work on the model, and Bailey was itching to get going.

“Dad, will you get the glue sticks? Mom had them in a bag from Michael’s. I’ll get the glue gun.”

“OK, Mo, I’m going.”

“Do you want some chips? We can make a little snack tray before we get started. I’ll get some juice.”

“And some Oreos?”

“Yes, Oreos! What else do we need? I have the papers you printed out with the pictures of the Curiosity. Do you have the x-acto knife, Dad? Will you bring it? And extra blades.”

“OK, OK, slow down, Champ, I can hardly keep up with you.”

“I just can’t wait to figure out how to create the Rover, Dad. Thank you for coming home tonight to help me.”

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