The Magic of Details

Writing is an art form that allows us to take a romance and turn it into a paranormal in a quick setting change. By changing the goal of our bad guy, we can turn him into a hero if we want. I like to remake my first drafts. It's fun. But I found inspiration the other day that I wanted to share because it made me look at my RE-writing in a new light.

It didn't come in any form I expected, and to be honest, I've seen it a thousand times without ever actually seeing it.

The Dollhouse 2012
There is this old house we drive by on our way to the city. So for 30 some years, I have seen this abandoned house, falling down on the side of the road. Slowly, it started decaying and I do remember my dad saying a few times that someone should knock it down.

In 2007, artist in resident Heather Benning transformed it into something really cool. See NEWS REPORT and some other PHOTOS and STORIES HERE.

She turned it into THE DOLLHOUSE. Perhaps you've heard of it. If not, let me catch you up. She replaced one side of the house with plexiglass and then redid the interior like a dollhouse from the 60s. Yeah, I know, it's one of those things that makes you go "What? Cool."

It's just off number two highway which means it sees a fair bit of traffic. In fact, there is always a car parked there. Last time we drove by it was raining but I asked hubby to stop. I don't know why, maybe I was looking for inspiration, maybe I just wanted to see if it was still holding up. Or maybe, it's just that cool.

As I said, it was raining, muddy, yet another family was out there just staring at it in awe.


I tried to see what they were seeing, because to me, it was still the old house I grew up ignoring, the one no one even cared enough to knock down.

One of my kids said it was cool that Heather saved it.

Saved it? It was still falling down, wasn't it? I took a better look. Yeah. It was. But! People were looking at it in awe. People were pointing to the details. The flowers, the basin, the things left on the floor or dresser.


Even falling down it was a masterpiece because of fine details she'd added in.

No one lived in the house since the 60's, but it looked like Barbie or Ken might come out any minute to smell the flowers in the kitchen. It had a new life. Yet it was still the old house I wouldn't dare sneeze by for fear it crumble.

It really hadn't changed much on the outside.

And there it was. That's what I was doing wrong. You can change a title, you can change a genre, you can move the plot around so it reads differently. You can cut scenes. You can knock it down and start fresh, but until you crawl into your story and add in details that make people point, you're just hiding a mess. It's the inside that counts sometimes.

 She didn't change the outside, just put up a sign that this was THE DOLLHOUSE. She didn't really change the inside either, just added in details and made the entire thing stronger, but her changes to the structure are hidden amongst the old, so you can't see them, they blend in perfectly.

She left the old and brought in details to finish it. 

Details that left people in awe. That is magic. That is what I want to do with my next MS. I don't want to change a thing from that first draft, just deepen the inside of my story so people turn the pages in awe at how rich and full the inside is.

Ever stop to look at something you thought you knew and finally see what everyone else sees? Do you like to redo your first drafts or just polish them? What is the last thing you saw that made you stand in awe at the details? Because wow. Look at what she did with that dump. *Applause.*

Sorry Squirt, No Library Card for You- The Bookmobile- Part 2

Not All Books and Rainbows

My memories about the Bookmobile aren't all good ones. In fact my first memory is horrifying. Still gives me nightmares and I can't believe I'm even sharing this with you. Please, if you can't take horror stories, look away. I included a stormy  picture of a rainbow trying to survive for you above . Just stare at that and fantasize while the rest of us discuss the storm I survived.

So here it is, the event that scarred my childhood.

In grade one, we were allowed library cards. There I was, all innocent and excited, looking up at the driver as if he was the god of books-- in my mind, he looked a little like a god of books would (but I have an entire post just dedicated to him, so we won't go there yet)-- and he refused my card. My gosh! you read that right, and it is not a typo. He actually told me I could not take books from paradise.

Can you imagine? Can you feel how traumatized I was? I thought it was a joke. It had to be. But nope. I was refused a card because I lived in the neighboring town and it fell in another library jurisdiction. I had no idea what that meant, I just broke into tears that no one knew how to stop. For days.

I asked Ma to move.Even packed my crap up and told her I was going to live with my cuz.

Next time he dared to show his bus in my town, I stayed in the classroom debating how to steal a bus full of books and get away with it, or maybe I just felt sorry for myself, I don't actually remember the details. I do remember being told that the school library had plenty of good books. Now that was a terrible lie. I don't want to get into it, but trust me, they had nothing on the books in that Bookmobile.

A friend slipped a book in my bag that I found when I got home. Really, that's the sign of a true friend eh? When they sneak you illegal books? hee hee.

Ma got involved at some point of my depression. I know that much but I don't know what she did to fix things.

The next time, I was told I could take one book and the teacher was taking responsibility for it, so I felt like I was sinning the entire time, and quickly grabbed a book and ran off without looking around.

It took my cousin to help me. God bless her. She talked to the driver, like the grown-up grade 2 student she was (truth be told, she was probably scared I might actually move in with her), and told him that I lived right by her, if she could get a card, so could I. Makes sense, but I was a little afraid he'd just take her card away. Still... if she was willing to risk it, I was game.

After my cuz straightened things out for me. The driver of this magical bus (LEARN ABOUT IT HERE) told me I could have a temporary card. This meant, I was allowed to take X amount of books. Yes, I had a limit. Which now that I think about it was probably a good thing because... well, that's a story for the next post.

Have you ever been refused a library card?

A Tribute to a Great Dad

This year I had to let go of my dad's hand for the final time, and I wrote this for him in that moment.

Dreams of Magic
Dad hesitates to let go of my tiny hand,
and when I glance back...
                                                   I see dreams of magic sparkling in his eyes.

He insists I listen to my mother because she’s fair,
Yet... we eat cheesecake for supper when she’s not there.
His laughter echoes on the prairie
each and every time I miss the tooth fairy. 
He spoils me a little too much.
He heals booboos with a touch.
He walks me down the aisle with a promise
that love is always worth the rush.
He teaches my children how to dream
while he pans for gold in a stream.

Dad hesitates to let go of my hand,
but this time, when he looks back...
                                               his dreams of magic are sprinkled in our lives.

 Happy Father's Day to all you great dads, may everything you do inspire someone to dream.

The Bookmobile- Part 1

The Bus Itself

Funny how memories are. I was ready to write a post about a game I used to play with my brother and sister called, impromptu stories, and somehow, I ended up dreaming about the Bookmobile and writing 5 posts on the subject. geesh.

This bus came to our school once a month. It would pull up, park by the school, open the doors, and wait for us to invade it.

It looked like a normal school bus except it was blue. No creative words on it, just "BOOKMOBILE". No need to say more. There was nothing fancy about it, which is what led me to believe that all magical things come in disguise. So pay attention.

I actually found out in my research, that travelling libraries started in Saskatchewan in 1914. Nothing like the Bookmobile, just a bunch of crates, but cool just the same.
My paradise was a bus of books.

If you've never seen a bus of books, I can't even explain this to you properly. Just imagine paradise, well, my paradise, I really don't know what yours looks like.

I searched for photos, but the recent ones are a little different, kinda modernized. The one I remember was one aisle with no pullouts. Just plain wooden shelves with books. More books than a child can dream of. There's just no way to capture the smells, the sounds of children squealing at their finds, the screaming stories, the urge to plop down in the middle of that single aisle and bask in the wonder of it. Books.

Did any of you have this wonderful bus come through your town?What did yours look like?