Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

N is for Nurturing the Inner Child and O is for Oz

Okay people I'm up to 98 Random Followers! When I hit 100 there will be a contest! (Even if it means interrupting the A to Z challenge.)

Nurture: Middle English from Middle French norriture, from Late Latin nurtritura meaning the act of nursing, from Latin nutritus the past participle of nutrire, meaning to suckle, nourish.

As children's writers we need to stay connected with our inner child, for it is from this place that our stories come. I think some cases of writer's block may stem from our adult world over-powering the little kid inside each of us. And as most kids will do when this happens, he/she pouts, goes to his/her room and won't speak to us. When this happens our inner child must be tempted to come out and play.

Here are just a few things you can do to nurture your inner child, particularly if you have kids of your own. You might could do some of these things with them. But you can also do some of these thing by yourself.

Have a water fight.
Blow big bubblegum bubbles.
Dance in the rain and play in the mud.
Have a screaming contest.
Play dress-up/make-believe.
Play hide and seek.
Jump rope.
Play jacks or marbles.
Run around crazy in the back yard yelling like a fool.
Spin around until you get dizzy and fall down.
Laugh at a really stupid joke.
Have a pillow fight.
Eat an entire meal with you hands (maybe even have a food fight.)
Stand behind a door and "scare" someone.
Roll around on the lawn like the dog does.

In other words have fun. Try to remember what it was like to be a kid when everything was new and you were seeing/experiencing it for the first time. There was wonder, magic in the world and you were at the center of all.

What are some other ways you can nurture your inner child?

And all of that leads wonderfully into...

Oz: And I'm not talking about the good doctor. The most commonly believed origin of the name for this, the first and only American fairyland, is that L. Frank Baum, while telling his four sons stories and needing a name for his magical land, looked over at a file cabinet and saw the letters O-Z. You can read all about Oz here, the official website.

I was first introduced to the Oz books by my mother who read them aloud to my sister and me. The tiny library on St. John may not have had many books, but the Oz books were there, jewels on the shelves.

Baum was a dreamer who failed at most everything he tried until he was encouraged by his mother-in-law to write down the stories he'd been telling to his sons and their friends. Like most writers he had trouble finding a publisher, but once he did...well the rest is history.

He was a prolific writer who wrote under several pseudonyms. He wrote a great deal more than the 14 Oz books. There were a total of 40 books in all written by various others authors like Ruth Plumly Thompson and John R. Neill, but I preferred those written by Baum himself.

He would probably be edited today from writing such things as, exclaimed the Ork scornfully, or, he answered gravely. But truly, I don't mind this style of writing at all.

I still love the illustrations by John R. Neill. I scanned these from the only Oz book I have, The Scarecrow of Oz.

The Scarecrow of Oz

Ozma of Oz, Dorothy and her friend Betsy.

His boundless imagination should be an inspiration to us all.

One of my favorite characters is the Glass Cat from The Patchwork Girl of Oz. She was very beautiful, vain and self-centered.

"The cat was made of glass, so clear and transparent that you could see through it as easily as through a window. In the top of its head, however, was a mass of delicate pink balls which looked like jewels, and it had a heart made of a blood-red ruby. The eyes were two large emeralds, but aside from these colors all the rest of the animal was clear glass, and it had a spun- glass tail that was really beautiful."

At one point the Glass Cat (whose name was Bungle) says, "Three heads are better than two, and my pink brains are beautiful. You can see em work."

Can you name any other Oz characters? Do you have a favorite one?
What was the Tin Woodsman name?
What was the color of Dorothy's magic slippers?


  1. I love your list! Lately I've felt so tired- maybe the weather?- but I haven't been getting out there and running around with my kids. So I'm going to start having fun like you've suggested!

  2. I absolutely love etymologies! Thanks for sharing this Bish.

    Boy do I feel stupid. I didn't even know there were Oz BOOKS! Now I have to go find and read them. Thanks so much for filling me in.

    Glass cat huh? That sounds like a pretty freaking cool character.

    Today's guest blogger is Michelle McLean!

  3. I hate getting dirty, so playing in the mud and eating with my hands are not my favorite things. But I do love scaring people! I think I'll try that.

  4. I love playing games with my kids. Of course they always beat me, but then it gives me a chance to demonstrate great sportsmanship. ;)

    I write YA. Fortunately my inner teen hasn't left me. Heck, she still breaks out. I mean what's with that? Who thought zits and laugh lines were a good idea?

  5. Love the list of childlike activities! And I'm really looking forward to your contest. :)

    Word veri: evilheru. Does your story have one?

  6. So exciting to approach 100! You'll probably reach it before tomorrow!

  7. I like your focus on nurture. I like to cultivate the inner child by rereading one of the many children's books we have. We made it a tradition in our family to give each other children's books as gifts.

  8. My mom had bought a set of Oz books for my "future children" when I was in college. Alas, the books were destroyed in a house fire. Baum cranked out quite a few fantastical tales of that world, didn't he?

    I'd argue that "hanging out with teenagers" should be required for YA writers, too.

    Good luck getting to 100. You can do it!

  9. You know what? I always feel like a child when we go somewhere new on vacation. My husband too. We love discovering new places together, it seriously makes us feel like kids again. Also- I never read the OZ books:( :( But I loved the movie!

  10. Your blog is so cute!! Oz characters always bring me back to my childhood. I think that the witch was the first character I was ever truly scared of (besides the evil octopus Ursula in The Little Mermaid).

  11. What a wonderful list. When I was young I used to love running around in the rainstorms in the summer - that steamy smell from the pavement was the best!

  12. My kids age me and keep me young simultaneously :) But mostly they keep me young at heart. This is why I don't like for them to grow up so quickly.

  13. Thanks Christina! And have fun.

    OMG Matt, you must simply rush out right now and go find them!

    Have a good BOO Aubrie. (Personally I love playing in mud and eating with my hands!)

    Stina, maybe the zits are there to remind you your inner-teen is not so far away?

    I'm looking forward to my contest too Marcia. As for evilheru, did you mean in the story I sent you? That would be nature more than likely.

    I hope so Karen!

    Thanks Paul. Books. Always an excellent gift. They don't get thrown out as quickly as regular toys and they aren't made of plastic!

    Oh Laurel. How sad. I'm so sorry. There must have been a lot more than the Oz books that were lost.

    Creepy, YOU MUST read at least ONE Oz book. The movie is only a shadow of the book.

    Thanks Saumya.

    You and me Talli. It's raining here today. Time to go play in the mud!

    I hear you Vijaya. I think my mother felt the same way when one day she looked at Erva and me had said, "Oh my God, I have middle-aged daughters!"

  14. I saw you were so close that I just had to become a follower. Besides I found your post so delightful and absorbing. Pay a visit to mine, will you? {WRTING IN THE CROSSHAIRS.} Roland

  15. Congrats, I see you're at 100 Followers now. I look forward to the contest! :)

  16. What a fun list!

    Congrats about your 100 followers!

  17. HAPPY FREAKIN 100 BISH!!!!!!!! I'm so excited for you!!!



Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!