N and I have just won the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award, bestowed on us by Allyson Latta, mentor extraordinaire for memoir writers. Of Blog of Green Gables, Allyson writes, “This colourful blog written and decorated by author Kristen den Hartog and her daughter, N, is appealing to the eye and offers irresistibly sweet takes on children’s literature.”
In accepting the award, I’ve agreed to:
1. Thank the person who awarded me
2. Tell you 7 things about myself
3. Pass this award on to some new bloggers
So … thank you Allyson!
Here are seven things about me … and N too, since we share this award.
1. We are mesmerized by dark stories. But only when there’s light in them too. Yesterday, N was wearing a hand-me-down top with a swirly LOVE written on it, and she caught herself reflected in a car window. “Mom — look! — Love is Evol backwards!”
2. We have many questions about being human. N: Why do we have tongues? Me: Why are arrogant people so often revered?
3. We have many questions for each other. N: Who is your arch enemy? Me: How can you hate eggplant?
4. We sometimes steal from each other when we write our stories. I’ll admit to snatching the line “I hate imagination, because it always goes away!” And it’s all too-obvious that I’m the inspiration for the nagging mother in N’s own series of books about a mischievous boy named Barley Corn. But in the illustrations, she has given me red lips and a swoopy up-do, and fancy orange high-heels.
5. We don’t always understand each other — she likes sweet things, I like spicy.
6. We love lavender, mint, lilac, and snails, all of which can be found in our garden (but only N keeps the snails as pets).
7. We wish we could travel back in time. Actually, this last, N does regularly with a friend at school, during recess.
“To what year?” I asked when I first found out.
“Today we went back to 1995,” she answered. And then: “Mom, how old were you in 1995?”
I could see from her somewhat dreamy expression that she was picturing me as a child, like her, so I was a little sorry to have to answer, “Uh … thirty.”
“Oh,” she said.
A small pause while the disappointment faded.
The trips in time are likely Potter-inspired. We are well into the third Harry Potter book now, and were both transfixed by a passage in the second, when Harry travels back fifty years inside Tom Riddle’s memory, hoping to discover who opened the chamber of secrets. The books are with us night and day now. We read them at breakfast, before N heads to school, and again each night. But I’m pleased to report that a new routine has settled in. After Harry is done, I no longer read a different book aloud to take the Harry-Scaries away. Rather, N reads to herself before closing the light. Her choice. Her idea.
Which triggers my favourite line so far in the Potter series, uttered by wise Albus Dumbledore: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” I should frame that line and put it on N’s wall. And maybe on my own as well.
And speaking of choices, now for my final task, to pass this award on to some other bloggers.
1. Book Madam and Associates for all they do, but today for the post I just want to read YA, in which a self-proclaimed “louse and an irresponsible blogger” is actually pretty damn eloquent and irresistible on the “apparent awful state” of YA books.
2. Litlad, in which 8-year-old “Tintin” and 5-year-old “Johnny Boo” blog about what they’re reading, offering opinions like “I liked it so much that I laughed,” or “My favorite part was when the Prince of Rage fell into the moat.” There are words of the week, too, drawn from the books they read. Most recently, “flabbergasted” made the list.
3. Lisa Bendall who writes about random kindness at 50 Good Deeds. She began the blog as a challenge to herself to do fifty good deeds in fifty days, and found out it was a life-changing experience.