A Discussion of Literature During a Walk To School

boy3: So how well are your books selling?

me: Eh.

boy3: We need more money so you have to sell more books. You need more suspense, more action. That thing you said. "I'm not with you in body but I am with you in spirit" [I'd just yelled that to him when he got indignant because I'd disappeared to drag the empty garbage cans to the back while he stood on the porch yammering at me] Make that someone's dying words. Make the scene last a long time. That'll be good for the suspense.

me: If he's obviously dying there's not a lot of suspense. I think suspense means you're not sure of the outcome. Or maybe it means--

boy3: [not paying attention] he'll be lying in a pool of his own blood. His own life fluids.

me: Not someone else's? Might add suspense if you had him lying in someone else's life fluids.

boy3: [still caught up in his ideas.] Better stabbed than drowned, I think. You had someone drowned already.

me: No, I didn't.

boy3: I thought you drowned your cousin.

me: Oh, that story is old. It didn't sell.

boy3: It should! It has to have a lot more suspense. Have her stabbed.. Or the plague! Thousands die. Rats. The plague! Put that in the story you're writing now.

me: The story takes place in the 1880s. The plague came through Europe a few centuries earlier.

boy3: How about a time machine? Yeah! A time machine in a toilet.

me: Oh, hey! Now that has potential. I like that time machine in a toilet idea.

boy3: I was just kidding. They didn't have toilets back then.

me: Yes they did. I like that idea.

boy3: No, I think you should have them all stabbed and taking a long, long, long time to die. And have them say that line about not being with them in body but with them in spirit and have the words blow away like the wind.


  1. There was plague in Sydney in 1905, I think it was - or thereabouts. Maybe you could find an outbreak in NYC in the 1880s ;-)

    Oh, and you could also tell boy3 that its' never too early to start his own best-selling career as an author - so he can keep you in the manner to which you'd like to become accustomed ;-)

  2. With help like this, I can't believe you aren't cranking out a novel a week on a regular basis.

  3. Your son cracks me up. All I could think of when I thought of the multitudes of stabbed characters slowly dying was, "I'm not dead yet!" drifting off into the wind.

  4. This post made me laugh and laugh, which I sorely needed. Please tell boy3 thank you from me.

    And yeah-- maybe he should be writing his own book!

  5. Anonymous12:17 AM

    Yes, I foretell your son has a very lucrative career ahead, writing Westerns...set in the 1350's, so there's still plenty of plague to go around.
    - Renaissance Woman

  6. definately a time machine in the toilet.....and maybe the hero could just be FLUSHED...before there's too many bodily fluids on the floor....

    i don't have a maid this week ......

    your boys are sooooooo completely great !!!!!

    and i agree with bron....time to put a pencil in their hands and sit back...drink coffee and collect the dividends....

    you manage their their funds 'till their of age right???????

  7. Bwahahahahahahaha! I can so picture that!

    Boy #3 giving you story ideas, not the time machine in the toilet thing, hahahaha


    so when do we get the time machine toilet book then huh? huh?

  9. Brilliant! Your boys sound simply wonderful. I got a dose of two teenaged brothers riffing off eachother in a Chinese restaurant Monday.

    They were singing the Burger King Christmas song ['Ding, fries are done/ Ding, fries are done]at half volume [but still loud enough for the whole place to hear]. And that was just the beginning.

    Funniest [and one of the weirdest] thing that's happened to me all year.

    Thanks for the giggle, Kate.


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