Thursday, April 19, 2012

Questions About Childhood

The letter for today's Blogging from A to Z challenge is Q. Q is for Questions...Over a year ago, before I even started this blog, I attended a children's book writing workshop author Elissa Haden Guest hosted at The Reading Bug, a kidlit-themed bookstore here in the Bay Area. Elissa writes the IRIS AND WALTER early reader picture books and she was super nice to talk to.

To get participants to reflect on their childhood, Elissa read aloud a bunch of questions and gave us some time to jot down notes after each one. I remember thinking after the workshop, it would be nice if I had a blog so I could share the notes I took.  Now over a year later,  I do have a blog and I will share some of Elissa's questions here:

When you were a child...
1. What were you afraid of?
2. What strange notions did you have? (Elissa shares that her niece thought little people walked and lived on her body.)
3. How did you feel feel turning off the lights?
4. Did anyone in your family ever betray your trust or spill the beans on you?
5. What did your parents not know about you as a child?
6. What did your parents call you when they were being affectionate?
7. What did they say when they were angry? What were physical details of your parents when they were angry, when you knew something scary was coming?
8. Do you remember any embarrassing experiences?
9. Did you have a friend your parents hated? Who was it?
10. Did you have a secret crush on anyone? Who was it?
11. Did you want to grow up quickly? What was it that grown-ups did that was enticing to you?
12. Which teacher did you really love?
13. Which teacher made your life miserable?
14. Do you remember physical details about friends' houses?
15. Did you ever want to be called a different name? If so, what was it?
16. Look through your responses to the questions. What can you add more detail to?

Feel free to answer any of the questions here.  Can you offer any more questions to get writers to think about their childhood?


Lynda R Young said...

I don't think I ever wanted to grow up...I still don't ;)

Kate said...

I agree with Lynda on the growing up thing..sadly I think it might be time :(..but great blog, the questions have me thinking but my memory doesnt have a clue - except I had a friend who had a chandelier in her hall way...I remember I wrote about it at school once...and it stuck in peoples minds. I had a working class upbringing and I only ever saw the doorstep of her house, but that chandelier just shocked me.

Grammy said...

How wonderful to have a workshop like that. I have never taken a writing workshop. I actually did not begin seriously writing until I began my blog four years ago. It has been a wonderful outlet. Currently writing a serialized fiction daily on my blog for the challenge. I began the story on April 1st and add a section each day, composing it as I go. Nice to meet you. Best regards to you. Ruby aka Grammy

Mark Koopmans said...

Thanks for your kind comments - I really appreciate them and I would have to say yes to No. 4 and wish I didn't :)

The good news... my three boys will grow up to answer no to the same question, so there is always good that comes out of a bad situation :)

Journaling Woman said...

ooh, I'm saving these questions. Great prompts for my brain AND I think I'll answer them for my rural blog. I've neglected it this month. :)


Nick Wilford said...

Some great questions there. I think I was most afraid of my dad growing up, which sort of answers 1 and 7. He wasn't a bad dad, but he had authority. If you were in trouble he would just go silent and you didn't know what was coming. The not knowing was the scary bit.

8 and 10 are linked too, which is probably quite common!

Julie Dao said...

This is some great food for thought! I bet these questions could inspire many story ideas :) I remember childhood well... and wish I'd never had to leave it!

Janna said...

Great questions; I just remembered things I haven't thought about in years. And I wanted to be named Stacy. I'm unsure why, but I thought Stacy was the coolest name out there when I was little.

Lynn Proctor said...

i don't think you had this one--do you have any memories, no one else recalls--great stuff

Cynthia said...

Lynda- I hear what you're saying. =)

Kate- That's a good memory of a detail.

Grammy- I'll go check out your blog later.

Mark- I'm so sorry about what you had gone through. Your boys are very fortunate to have you there.

Teresa- I should go check out your rural blog sometime.

Nick- Yes, it's always scary when you don't know what's coming but that something is coming. I could see how secret crushes and embarrassing moments could be linked.

Julie- Sounds like you had a sweet childhood.

Janna- Stacy's a nice name, and so is Janna!

Lynn- I have many memories.... in fact, I think I could answer most of the questions above...I remember my parents when they were angry, I remember the teachers I loved and the ones I didn't care for, and I remember being afraid to put my head in the water before I learned how to swim...

Shelley Sly said...

Very thought-provoking questions!

When I was little (like 3 years old), I used to think that when you turn off the lights, you're actually turning off the sun -- because the light switch in my bedroom had a sun on it.

Mina Burrows said...

Embarrassing ones...yes. One time I rode my bike in front of a bunch of 12 yr old boys in my class and missed the peddle and doh! Oh yes very embarrassing. I still remember the boys hitting the ground rolling around laughing while I limped all the way home with my broken bike and spirit! Damn, even having kids didn't delete that memory.

Jessica said...

This is great food for thought but not easy thoughts for me. I didn't have a great childhood, so most of the memories are painful. One I can answer, though, is the growing up bit.

I wanted to, so I could be old enough to get away. But I also wanted to remain a kid and find Peter Pan so I could just fly away and still have fun (since my child's mind had determined that adults didn't have fun).

Great post.

A to Z Blogger & SF/Fantasy Writer @ Visions of Other Worlds

Melodie Wright said...

My childhood is always cropping up in what I write. The book we're on sub with now is based on a ghost story I heard as a kid. One great thing to think about is remembering how you felt while listening to a story, which ones were your favorites and why.

Jay Noel said...

I had a crush on my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Joy. Sounds dumb, but even when I looked at her picture in my old yearbook, I think, 'I had great taste!'

Ella said...

I never wanted to grow up, lol
My nickname was Susie Q, yeah, cute except my real name is Ellen. I asked my Mom one day why didn't you name me Susan?! ;D

Fun to read! Nice to meet you~

Daisy Carter said...

What a great list! My subconscious immediately brought memories to the front of my mind I didn't realize I had, particularly the questions about the teachers and my friend's houses.

My post for today was "questions," too, but with a different spin. This is the best list I've read!

mooderino said...

The thing I remember most about childhood is how much slower time moved then, everyhting in my memory seems to have happened at a different pace compared to now.

Moody Writing
The Funnily Enough

Cynthia said...

Shelley- How powerful you must've felt back then to think you could turn off the sun!

Mina- Those awful boys! I think many of us have fallen, slipped, or tripped in front of others, so you're not alone!

Jessica- I'm sorry to hear that you have painful memories of childhood. I hope adulthood has given you happier times.

Melodie- I still remember some of the stories read to me as a kid, such as James and the Giant Peach. It's still one of my faves today.

Jay- I think that's sweet.

Ella- Nice to meet you too. How interesting it must've been to go by two names!

Daisy- Thanks, Daisy. I am going to check out your post.

Mooderino- Things do happen much faster when you have more responsibilities as an adult.

Anonymous said...

oh, i'm totally doing an exercise with these questions! such a great way to get into kid mode.

for # 15, i always wanted to trade names with my little sister, joey. i was the tomboy, so it felt more fitting. we tried trading names at one point, but it didn't work out so well ;)

Kate O'Mara said...

I'm up for the challenge... trippin down memory lane. :)

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