Monday, August 25, 2008

Farewell Olympics!

It’s over! But I enjoyed it while it lasted. I thought it would be appropriate to mention what a writer (meaning me), learned from the Olympics that relate to writing (at least in my mind).

I heart the Olympics. I really do. Not so much that I have ever dreamed of being part of them myself, but enough that each time they near, I get excited. Once they arrive, I’m addicted.

Here are my writerly learnings (and maybe a few others) over the past two and half weeks:

1. There’s nothing like a story about the underdog winning big. There’s nothing like a story of heartbreak. And, there’s nothing like a story of enormous odds. coupled with extreme determination. that result in a Phelpsian Feat! That Michael Phelps made the Olympics for me.

2. Names are powerful. I read a great article recently in the latest and greatest 2009 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market edited by the lovely Alice Pope. In the article “Creating Memorable Characters” by Cecil Castellucci in part talks about the importance of a character’s name. During these Olympic Games there was a perfect example an athlete who could not have been named more appropriately—Usain Bolt. Need I say more about the name of the fastest man in the world?

3. There are always people who will cheat to get what they want. I can’t believe some of the doping stories I heard about during these games. I guess I just didn’t know. I always thought of doping as steroid-type drug use that athletes did to be more powerful. What I didn’t know were all the other reasons athletes dope, like a marksman doping in order to reduce trembling. Sometimes it’s not even a person, but a horse in the equestrian competition. They (the cheaters, that is) give horses (grrr!) a drug that makes their skin sensitive so they want to clear the obstacles. That’s TWISTED! Then there’s the non-doping kind of cheating that was the big brew-ha-ha of these games—the Chinese woman gymnasts. Were they all sixteen? It certainly didn’t look like they were, but I really wanted them to be.

4. Thank God!!! I don’t have to write in a bikini. Did you see Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh? They are a skin-stretched-over-muscled-kind-of perfection. Their bodies are so conditioned, they can play their sport (meaning do their job) in the smallest of bikini sporty-ness. Impressive! Not one thing jiggles or moves as they jump up, smack the ball, and fall to the sand. Why can’t writers experience such benefits as we go for our dreams? Unfortunately, the act of butt-in-chair doesn’t produce such firm results. So, on a side note, I’ll say it here and now, because if I put it in writing I’ll follow through. I’m off to train to become a Les Mils BODYPUMP instructor in a few weeks. No laughing. It’s not a joke. This is really in the plans. (The world now knows. I must go.)

WARNING! Tangent coming in 3…2…1…
Excuse me a second while a climb up on my soap box and put on two other hats I proudly wear—woman and mother of young girls. The many women and girls in the Olympics are amazing and inspirational. They are healthy and driven and I think great role models (compared to the many others in our society) for young girls. I love that I can look at two different woman (even within the same sport, like Shawn Johnson & Nastia Liukin, Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh) and see two very different—but very healthy—bodies. What a great time to sit with our daughters and notice those differences. What a great time to discuss goals, perseverance, disappointment and sportsmanship. Okay, I’m hopping off now. Thanks for letting me get that out. I suppose that’s a perk of having a blog.

Don't miss tomorrow's post where I'll have an interview with the colorful Laini Taylor. Or maybe I should say, DON'T READ TOMORROW'S INTERVIEW if you will be dying to get a hold of Lips Touch after Laini gives us a taste that will leave you wanting more!


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness!

I love your soapbox tangent. What a great mom you are.

And what a wonderful thing you are doing for yourself by becoming a trainer. Please tell me that we'll now have BODYPUMP sessions before every SCBWI meeting this season?

Anonymous said...

I know you already prefaced your post by saying you never wanted to be in the Olympics (me neither) but in a somewhat Olympic vein, have you ever considered a mini triathlon?

Also, out of curiosity, do you listen to anything while you are writing/imbibing the bean? If not, how do you keep from being distracted by other people's conversations? Or am I just nosy and controlling?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you regarding the positive influence that watching the Olympics can have on girls, and boys too. Zoe enjoyed watching/looking at the TV while the Olympics were on (I know, bad Mama!), especially during the swimming. So of course, CJ and I think she'll be an incredible athlete in swimming :)

Cuppa Jolie said...


Ah, thanks for being a fan of my soapbox! But, sorry, no BODYPUMP before the meetings. It would require packing many bars and weight sets. But maybe you could trek over here and take a class. Deal?

Cuppa Jolie said...

Is this idea of doing a triathlon something you're proposing we do together?

Hee hee. Imbibing the bean--love that. I sometimes listen to my ipod. I actually have a specific playlist for the novel I'm working on that is made up of songs that my main character would be listening to (or I guess I should say, does listen to...just through my ears). I rarely get distracted by people and their conversations. When I do, they are usually giving me material. I love it when that happens. Really, if I'm writing, I'm usually so right there in the scene that when I do lift my head from the computer I have a moment of, Oh yah, I'm at The Vault. I wonder if I was just making really strange faces?

Do I have you thinking fiction at all?

Laini Taylor said...

I love the Olympics too, Jolie! I'm a junkie -- I thought NBC did a crap job this year; all prime time being taken up by beach volley ball or waterpolo, and the *good stuff* late at night, and so many sports shown not at all? Where was the alien-strange rhythmic gymnastics, I ask? But still. I love them. I watched from the treadmill at the gym several nights, and that was great motivation to keep moving. Wish they were on more often!

Cuppa Jolie said...

I agree! Coverage could have been better. But, those crazy rhythmic gymnast were on the last couple of days during daytime, along with the equally stange synchronized swimmers. Those girls (the gymnasts and swimmers) do things that should not be doable. Love that. The human body is fascinating.

P.S. Sadly, my favorite synch. swimming team, that one we watched in LA was not in the Olympics this year!