Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kids Say The Darndest Things

Do you remember Bill Cosby’s 1998 -2000 show, “Kids Say the Darndest things?” I remember watching a few episodes and being underwhelmed. My analysis ranged from cute to tame to downright lame. Of course that was before I had kids of my own and listened to them articulate their explanations and observations.

So fast forward thirteen years, throw in a few books and a few kids, and what do you get? Some of the weird things my kids say appearing in my books.

When my oldest was five she had a massive crush on a little cute kid in her kindergarten class. She said to me one evening, “Mommy, I’m gonna marry MJ when I’m twenty and we’ll have lots of kids.”

“So how many kids do you want?” I asked.

Twenty being the biggest number she could perceive she announced, “We’ll have twenty kids.”

A year later I wrote the novella, “From SKB with Love,” part of the “Holiday Brides” anthology. The lead character is young widow still grieving her beloved MJ when she is whisked away to the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts and finds love with a hot, handsome, talented local. She had known MJ since pre-K and had told her mother in matter-of-fact terms, “MJ and I are going to get married when we’re twenty and have lots of kids.”

Yes kids say the darndest things and they end up right in my books!

My two year old is very timid. She is afraid of bubbles, bugs, dust, and even hairs in the bath tub. If she sees a hair, she screams and jumps out soaking wet until I remove the hair. A few days ago I was washing her hair. You can imagine what happened when she saw the strands of her hair land in the bathtub.

Seeing the commotion my oldest began to tease her calling her a scaredy cat. While dressing her I said to her, “Sweetie, you’re gonna be a brave big, girl and not a scaredy cat, ok. What do you say to that?”

She looked at her sister, then back at me and said, “Doggies say woof woof, scaredy cats say meow. Meow!”

I laughed until water came from my eyes. In my WIP the lead character is a single mother with a two year old just coming into her own. You can guess where my daughter’s words end up: coming out of the mouth of my two year old character!

Yes kids say the darndest things and they end up right in my books!

What things from your life, whether it being sayings, or scenes, or characters end up in your books?


G said...

Most of my friends (who are female and yes, my wife has met some of them) are incredibly strong, independent and have that "take charge/take no prisoners" mentality to them.

So I try to work those particular characteristics into my stories whenever I can.

Phyllis Bourne said...

My story in The Holiday Inn anthology was taken from real life.

I having lunch with my s-i-l, and we could barely get through the meal because her grown azz, 30-something kids kept calling to ask her to do things for them.

LOL! My story is about a husband who whisks his wife away for the holidays to get away from their demanding grown kids.

Liane Spicer said...

All of the above end up in my books - sayings, scenes and characters.

A character in my second book owes much to my soldier cousin who feels naked without his gun. My mother's words popped out of a character's mouth: "What you find in the street you'll lose in the street." A catfight between two employees at a friend's agency in Miami found its way into my third book.

Real life = the raw material for art.

Jewel Amethyst said...

It's all around us and so Inspiring. I sometimes include quotations that I have made up myself (it's the only way I can get them published right?). In my first book I use the quote, "Happiness should be inspite of not because of."

I find I also use my mother's character in the mothers of my books. She has so many layers that the different characters are nothing alike, yet they have aspects of her personality.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Phyllis, sounds like you got good character inspiration, but what is s-i-l?

Phyllis Bourne said...


Jewel Amethyst said...

Thanks Phyllis.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've actually had a couple of things published that were really just slight variations on things my son, Josh, said to me.

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