Friday, February 27, 2009

Contextarama

I've been thinking about context lately, which sounds serious, but we all know will take a sharp detour into Ludicrous Land some time in the not-so-distant future. See, context is important to writers. Too much context, and your readers end up slogging through pages of description at approximately the same speed you'd use swimming across an ocean made of blue raspberry Jell-o. Admittedly, I've never swam through Jell-o, but I imagine it would be slow going. And then, if you put too little context in, you end up with what feels like two severed heads having a conversation. And while I can see the comic potential in such a conversation, I'm not sure it's really the right choice for everyone.

So context is important. One time, I saw a production of Romeo and Juliet where they decided to be all experimental and set it on a spaceship. Which made for some terrific costumes but otherwise added nothing to R&J. I think that instead of stabbing people with swords they put them out the airlock, and I think that Romeo sounded a little like Darth Vader when he had his helmet on, but maybe I made that last part up. I don't really remember the show; I blocked it out.

All of this came to mind quite vividly (except for the parts that I don't remember) yesterday when I found myself shouting, "Eat the baby already!

Please don't run away. Once I tell you the context, it'll make a lot more sense. See, my twin girls, Left and Right, were eating cereal. And Left shows me a spoon full of Cocoa Puffs and says, "Baby!"

"Cereal," I respond, pointing to it.

"Baby!"

"Cereal."

"BABY!"

"It's not a baby; it's sear-eee-all." I say it slowly this time, like that's going to make her stop being stubborn. Kind of like people talk really slowly to foreigners, like speaking in slo-mo is the key to learning a new language in 15 seconds or less. Yeah, I'm dumb.

"BABY!!!!!" This time, she pounds her hand on the table, so I know she's serious.

"Fine. Eat the baby already."

See? With the context, it makes sense. And it didn't involve a spaceship or Richard Simmons. I'm so proud of myself.

27 comments:

Tiny T said...

The words from babes :D Priceless!

Jamie Eyberg said...

I can get that. My son knows the words dessert and cookie really well (he can also say cereal but it comes out cerl) because there is one thing he is serious (serus) about and that is food.

K.C. Shaw said...

It sounds like your daughter takes after you REALLY well. You know she was just trying to make you say, "Eat the baby!" so later on she can tell her sister that see? you really are the witch from that gingerbread house story.

Monica said...

i have said words very much like that, Carrie. I have twin girls as well R and r, i call them.
"GET OFF THE CAT!!"

mine are 17 now. The nonsequiturs just keep on coming.

PJ Hoover said...

Works for me!
Mmmmm...cereal. Now I'm hungry!

Hanna Banana said...

When my middle son was about three, he had this blue stuffed monky. One day, I find him beating the tar out of this monkey for who knows why. Without even thinking, the first sentence out of my mouth was "Quit spanking your monkey!"

Big Plain V said...

Hey, you mind getting your ass off my foot?

Sorry, I was talking to my dog.

beth said...

AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! That is fantastic, so fantastic that I would like to call it Hi-larious, but that wouldn't be cool enough.

Angela said...

ROTF!! You'll have to remember that when they have kids!

Natalie L. Sin said...

Two questions:

1. When will your child-rearing book be coming out? : )

2. Will it be titled, "Eat the Baby"?

Solvang Sherrie said...

Too funny! Sometimes I think kids just make the world a funnier place :^)

Anne Spollen said...

You can't make this stuff up...

Hanna Banana said...

Oh! I would totally buy that book!!

Mariah Irvin said...

People always try to enter my conversations, but hear me saying things like that and slowly turn the other direction. I'm like "CONTEXT!!!"

Kelly said...

That is too funny!

Suzanne Casamento said...

Eat the Baby. Could be a good name for a metal band.

adrienne said...

I'm still giggling about Left and Right. Too funny!

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha! I would buy the book too!

Carrie Harris said...

So what you're all saying is that I need to write a proposal for a baby-rearing book. In that proposal, I can promise them that four people will buy it.

Yeah, that should work. ;)

Brenda said...

The things kids say are what makes the world go around...grin...

Nora MacFarlane said...

Too funny! And make that 5 people. I don't have any babies these days, but I'd buy your book!

K. M. Walton said...

A snarky parenting book titled Eat the Baby by Carrie Harris? Yeah, I'm buying it. Fo'sure.

*BPV, your comment made me laugh...out loud!

Jamie Eyberg said...

Carrie, you should know that I would buy any book you would ever write. ;)

SlayerOfBees said...

Can I write the accompanying baby-making book?

Shelli said...

you go girl~ :)

LauraBlue said...

You really must write a child-rearing book! We can start a list of people who will read it to include in your proposal. :p

Christina Farley said...

Totally makes sense. Halarious too.