Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ring Around the Rose: Stories and Pixar

I only have a few minutes to pound out this post. Also, I would like to thank these ladies for letting me play Ring Around the Rose with them, I have enjoyed it greatly. Please, check out their blogs here!

Savannah at Savannah Jay's Workshop
Jenelle at Jenelle Schmidt
Dorian at Dorian Writes
Hayden at The Story Girl
Heidi at Along the Brandywine
Kaycee at The Pink Cave

Ok, first question- What is the first story you wrote?

Well, I first had an inkling of the idea that I might like to be a writer when I was about eight years old. I didn't really learn how to read until I was about six or seven, and truthfully, I hated learning how to read. It was boring, I would get annoyed when I didn't get words right, and the stories weren't that interesting. Once I graduated from our reading lesson book I was moved into this set of readers written by the Amish community.

Oh. My. Goodness, can you say boredom. I, along with all of my five other siblings were taught how to read on those things. The only subjects in the earlier ones was about farming, or school, with Teacher Dan. The pictures always had objects, but never any people. I think one of my favorite stories was one where a little Amish girl named Nancy ran into the corner of the school house and cut her head open. I know, that sounds so bloodthirsty and terrible of me, but it was the only drama or excitement that had happened other than the goat getting loose, so cut me some slack.

Yeah, I learned how to read, but I can't say I am a fan of those readers. So you can imagine my utter delight when I tasted the delicious food of The Boxcar Children, that was when my reading career really took off. Now, it isn't that I hadn't been exposed to any good books. Mom had read my older brother and I the Little House on the Prairie series, and she and my dad tag-teamed The Chronicles of Narnia. It was largely because I knew that one day I would be able to read "big people" books with real stories that I didn't ever entirely loose heart on learning to read.

Good news, my reading career exploded once I was introduced into the realm of mysteries. I have the softest spot in my heart for the mystery genre, because that was the food I fed myself solidly on when I was just setting sail into the magical world of the written word. Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys (my first literary crush was Joe Hardy, oh he was so cute! I have since moved on to liking Frank, recognizing that he would suit my personality more, but I love them both to death), and Trixie Belden.

We didn't have hardly any money at this time in my life, Netflix didn't exist yet, we didn't have television, and we never went out. My entire world was made up what I could get from the library. My older brother and I would race through our other school subjects so that we could go running back to our bedroom and devour mysteries for hours on end.

I can remember thinking to myself one day, probably when I was about eight or nine, "Wow, it would be so neat to create your own story, you could do whatever you wanted with it. I think I might like to be a writer someday." Yes, I can even remember where I was standing when I said this.

I think my first real story that I ever wrote was for a Christmas school assignment. My brother and I were bummed about having to do school near the holidays, so Mom told us each to write a Christmas-themed story. I can remember both of us, sitting side by side at a tan folding table in Mom's bedroom, with notebook paper and pencils. No, I was NOT ready to type up my first story, more on that in a future post. ;) Spoiler alert, chunky keyboards, boring typing textbook, small fingers, you get the gist.

After staring at the page for a bit, I launched in, scribbling away.

My story was about a pioneering family who were headed west. I was a history nerd in the making, and both my brother and I were kind of obsessed with pioneers/cowboys. Yeah, mysteries and western pretend play were the essence of our entire existence.

Anyway, this pioneering family had ten kids, whom I listed out all by name. It started to snow, and the parents were distracted by the weather when the weakest girl, Kathy, fell off of the wagon. All of the other siblings jumped off of the wagon to grab their sister, and somehow their parents left them in the storm, never noticing the disappearance of their ten youngsters.

My self-reliant little kiddos set out to follow their parents, when suddenly, while passing a nearby cabin, they were kidnapped by two men! Again, at this point I'm constantly inhaling mysteries, kidnappings were a regular event in my schedule. Well, all were kidnapped except for two of the girls, Lyn, and Sarah. They managed to evade capture and then hunkered down outside of the cabin to discuss what to do. Lyn was the older and cleverer of the two, so she came up with a brilliant plan. Sarah, who was incredibly fast, would run in and lead the kidnappers away from the cabin while Lyn freed the rest of their siblings.

It worked like a charm, and once Lyn had freed her siblings Sarah led the kidnappers back towards the cabin where the intrepid group of pioneering youngsters took them down and tied them up! Then, the siblings walked several more miles where they came upon another cabin with a friendly older couple, and wonder of all wonders, their parents! Their parents were overjoyed to see their children again, and miraculously, they had arrived just in time for Christmas Day.

It was a typical little girl story, fraught with drama, unrealistic action, and girl-power. Mixed with my obsession with pioneers and covered wagons.

Truthfully, I haven't ever really identified that story as being the beginning of my writing career. I guess in a sense it was, but it has been a journey over the years of me discovering that writing is a part of who God made me to be, and for me to see the purpose in the way that I think and how writing fits into all of that.

But, every step, no matter how small, takes you just a little bit farther on your journey, even if you don't know it at the time.

Now, onto the second question- Which is Your Favorite Pixar Movie and Why?

Ugh! They are all so good! Pixar's worst is by comparison other movie studios' best. My family and I absolutely adore Pixar, and John Lasseter, a man largely responsible for making Pixar into what it is. A place the combines childlike creativity, wonderment, hard and beautiful truths of life, and rib-aching laughter all into single movies? Yes please!

I have struggled with this question many times before. Would I choose Cars? We watched that a while after it came out, it looked dumb on the cover, but oh my lands, we had no idea what a drive we were in for! My Dad always cries when we watch that movie, and we quote it all the time. Seriously, is there a non-quotable Pixar movie out there?

Oh, and what about Monster Inc? I believe that if I could choose any Pixar character to hug it would be Sully, big bundle of gravelly voiced love that he is! I love that movie, it is so incredibly creative, and Boo? Really? Does it get any more adorable than a totally precious flower petal of a little girl winning the heart of "Kitty" and a snarky, one-eyed green monster?

Let's not forget Up, I actually saw that movie in theaters, I spent the first fifteen minutes developing a boulder-sized lump in my throat and chest, and the rest of the movie shrinking it down to size, only to have it make a reappearance when Carl opens up Ellie's "Adventure Book". *Gulp* Oh, and since the creation of that movie, who has not shouted "SQUIRREL!" At some time or another.

The Incredibles? Incredible. My favorite part of the entire movie is when Elasti-Girl stops in front of the mirror at the bad guy base to see how she looks in her new suit. Seriously, she could get caught at any moment, her inexperienced children and she were just blown out of the sky, and her husband could be dead, and she stops in front of the mirror to see how she looks. Priceless.

Then there's Walle, Finding Nemo, Cars 2, Monsters University, Ratatoullie and we're not going to even start talking about the movies that Disney made once they bought Pixar. That was a good move right there Disney, Pixar had something in every one of their movies that you could only pull out here and there.

You might have noticed that I have overlooked one very, VERY, important movie, or rather, movies, yes, the movie that started it all.

That is because it is my favorite Pixar story of all time.

Oh, toys coming to life. Is there anything more creative, more imaginative, and more childlike than imagining your toys coming to life? How many hours did I spend imagining my own toys coming to life? I used to imagine that my doll house people were alive, and they lived in little communities under our furniture. Perhaps their cities were in the walls. One day I just might be walking down the hallway and see one of them scurry across my path. We would become friends and I would help them out by doing "big person" jobs for them like policing, reaching high things, and helping with moves and such.

I also just simply adore the characters in this movie, my top favorite being Woody.

I identify with Woody so much, I even took one of those character quizzes for certain movies and I came out as Woody. He is a really nice little toy with strong leadership qualities, a sometimes overbearing mother hen syndrome (I feel ya little man) and he tries to find a silver lining in every cloud. He is your go to guy for good times and bad times. He has led this incredible little group of toys, and really, Pixar characters from the very beginning. And you know that he will "Never give up on you." *Holding Back Tears, Begins Singing, "You've got a friend in me..."*

Woody, you were the charming little cowboy who began it all. And I love you.

Thank you for bearing up with my long ramblings. Ok, I'm gonna go yell "SQUIRREL" at somebody now.