My Inner Ninja, Part II: The Moves

Continued from January 24, 2012 post

K. often challenges me to a battle. Over the years, the roles we play and weapons we use have changed. From Anakin versus Obi Wan with plastic light sabers, to Prince of Persia versus the evil king with imaginary swords, to red ninja versus blue ninja with Chinese throwing stars and nunchucks*, to Indy versus the Nazis with a whip and guns, respectively, to Beyblades and Hot Wheels and Ninjagos.

When we battle, K. is in charge. The storyline is always one of good versus evil. K. dictates the setting and plot, which usually results in glorious victory for him. When we were still getting to know each other in the early days of my relationship with Henry and the kids, I would battle the way my brothers and I did when we were kids, with dialogue and sound effects. I love sound effects. So as I’d move my light saber through the air, I’d mimic the electronic whooshing sound from the movies. During ninja fights, I would talk like the actors in Kung Fu movies, continuing to move my lips after the words had left my mouth. K. didn’t like this. More than once he would interrupt a battle to ask, “Why are you talking like that?” or to say, “You don’t have to make that noise with your mouth.”

Here is someone who is completely in command of his story. Even on days when homework and making dinner interfere with opportunities for battle, the narrative continues in his head, whether he is drawing a picture, setting up plastic army men along the edge of the bathtub, or perfecting his flying kick on our bed. (Yeah, we let them jump on the bed. ¿Y qué?)

K. has a set of Lego Ninja figures. Each Ninjago comes with his or her weapon of choice, elemental color, and special strength. There’s Nya, member of the snake clans. Her color is red, her strength intuition, and her weapon the double daggers. There’s her brother Kai. His strength is attack, his weapon the sword. My favorite is Sensei Wu. He is a Spinjitzu Master, and his weapon is wisdom.

I would like wisdom to be my weapon. I turn 40 in five days. On that day I will post my 100th blog entry. The year is 2012. New Mexico (the state, not the place) turned 100 in January. This is a big year. There is much I want to do, but the most meaningful on a personal, spiritual, creative level is to be in touch with my writing. It started with a simple move. My messy draft of Vessels lives in a 3-ring binder on a shelf in our office, a separate structure on our property. On days when I did not have time to write, I might pass by the binder with a load of laundry destined for the washing machine, which also lives in the office. I live in the house with my family, but this thing I loved was banished to another building, so each time I visited that building to extract a few pages from the binder and carry them to the studio, I felt like a weekend parent, picking up a kid I hardly knew to take him out to breakfast. I felt like the little time we did spend together had to be meaningful because God only knew when we would get another chance to bond. That made it difficult to write, much less enjoy the process.

I confessed all of this to my writing coach Demetria. She told me to move a few pages of my writing into the house. Get a folder. Keep it next to your bed. Open it up and read it a few times a week, especially on those days when you are not able to write. I did. I read the prologue and knew that a character I thought needed to be big, really needed to be small. I read a vignette and knew that most of it had to go, but there was magic in what was left. I felt like K. must feel, surrounded by my favorite toys, excited to play with them, the story alive in my head. No light sabers or nunchucks needed.

*For all you safety-conscious folks out there, don’t worry. No children or adults have been harmed in my battles with K. Unless otherwise noted, all weapons used in our battles are imaginary.

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Published in: on February 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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Vessel

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