Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wrestling...Eggplant Overload...Creative Researching

They Battled For Two Long Days and into the Night

It seemed like a billion contestant filled the two tiny gymnasiums of Tanana Middle School. Crunched in between were parents, friends, classmates, coaches, and the mat managers. I had never been to a wrestling tournament because watching two people struggle to overpower one another held as much interest to me and breaded eggplant. Even after watching some amazing matches (Ivan, Chase, Hyland, Brenden, and some misc. 75 pound kids included) I still think wrestling has as much interest as breaded eggplant (i.e. I'll eat it, but sparingly).

The first night I watched and recorded a few games. Sadly I was so into cheering on Ivan that I forgot to record him. I did get footage of Hyland and Brenden though. The contest on Friday and Saturday went on forever. I showed up at 6:30 pm on both nights, though the kids had been there since the a.m. On Friday, Ivan, Thalia, and Chase's last matches were at 10:30 pm with so many more children waiting to go. Since Ivan won 2 out of 3 he had to be back by 7 a.m. and I shuttled a few teammates in by 7:30. Yet, this kind of arena is where I get to know kids I hear about but have never met such as Chase, Vince, and Josh; I re-meet the new personalities of kids I've known forever (Dani); and I run into a few parents who think I'm really some kind of apparition because I'm never at the tournaments or the practices. "Eggplant!" I repeat. "Eggplant!"

If Life Continues to Give You Eggplant... Pray for a Good Side Dish to Fall from the Sky

By Saturday the OOOHH...AAHHHness of it all wore off (i.e I was sick of eating eggplant). Thankfully, smart school administrators were showing movies in the cafeteria and I watched Madagascar 2 , Kung Fu Panda, and Horton Hears a Who. I brought along a writing project because I am good at finishing those things in a busy atmosphere. Normally the television is a distraction, but given that Madagascar 2 is a comedy version of the Lion King and I've seen KungFu Panda six times, I pretty much could ignore the movies and know what was going on at any given time. In the four hours that I was there, I managed to complete more than enough copy to finish the website and propose that we hold a Rockband Party during Spring Break. All in all I would say that it was productive. I am really grateful that I won't have to relive that much productivity for another year.

Celebrating the End of Eggplant (Good Times C'mon!)

So after this monumental weekend, in which the award ceremony ended at 10:15 Saturday Night, the entire Randy Smith Middle School Team got together at Brewster's. Ivan pounded down a huge burger as did most kids who had spent the last three months trying to keep three pounds on either side of their weight class. I ate a sampler plate and my psychic waiter also brought me a salad that I only thought about ordering. I got to sit by Andrew's mom and the regular host of kids and a few that I've known from other places like Karate. I watched Sportcenter, drank a beer and just gave thanks that Ivan had a successful season. Ivan plans on wrestling in high school next year and rumor has it that he will attend freestyle wrestling practice after Spring Break. There are a few other wrestlers who have mentioned that they will compete in high school next year. I wish them the best of luck.

The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly in the Plain (But You Should Double Check That Fact)

And so we move towards the next weekend. Recouping from this last weekend has taken four straight days, which is why you are hearing about it on the eve of the next one. This weekend is filled with more serious work. Ivan has a science project to shore up and Alaska Science Research Academy is opening up their application process. Phil is giving Ivan hell (lightly) because he has decided to take the Creative Writing module. Personally I think he is jealous (lightly) because Ivan can pound out 600 words in 40 minutes where it might take Phil a day or two to accomplish the same thing. Honestly Phil is a very skilled writer, just an unpracticed one. Yet, with regards to the science academy, he says he does not want Ivan to believe that Creative Writing should be equated with "real" scientific research. This only tells me that he is not at all familiar with what it takes to write any convincing piece of any fiction (and even some non-fiction).

I can't begin to tell you how many psychology, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies books I have poured over just to make a set of characters that will interact the way I want. What personality will love the innocent and dramatic Rebbeca Komatsu? What personality would abhor a good girl like Raquel Garcia? What in Seann Tamayoa's personality is willing to risk his life taking on a twice-convicted murderer to be his body guard? It takes a lot of research to piece those profiles together. And then a science fiction writer gets to worry about the science/technology end of it! The same goes for the murder mystery writers or any genre writer--even sometimes those who aren't in a specific genre. We can't guess that a hot cup of coffee thrown from a cup on a 50 below day will automatically turn to steam. We either have to witness it or test it. Most writers will test it even if they have seen it with their own eyes just so they can describe what it's like to inhale the sharp air, shiver in their heavy down jacket, wrestle to get their glove around the handle, and fling the cup towards the sidewalk. The mist that hovers for a second before vanishing, well that's the magic. We have to set up the trick long before the readers get to see the illusion.

Wow... That was a mouthful. Thank God weekends like this don't happen too often or else you would end up reading a novel every week! Love Always... Peace... RK

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