Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Autism Answer: The Powerful Perks And Possible Problems Of Compliments

When people tell me that I look young, I don't mind. I think it's wonderful for people to feel comfortable enough to share a thought or vision of me!

However, when I see "looking young" tossed around or offered as an assumed and obvious
People say I look young to be their mom.
compliment, I can't help but think, "Why?"

I've never wanted to look young, though I don't mind it. I've even decided to believe it to mean that I look "giggly" and "happy". These are things I do want! Yet people often throw out compliments and make jokes that only make sense if we all agree that looking young is desirable. Again, I can't help but wonder, "Why?"

Looking young isn't a thing that means much of anything. I suppose "a youthful look" is more of a thing with meaning, but it's not an innate compliment. I always wished people would see me as "wise" which doesn't quite match the giggly, silly, young-ish looking "me" that I prance around as. Of course, as you all know, I've grown comfortable with the giggle, silly (even sometimes wise) me. I like her! 

Anyway, I'm just thinking about the picture of beauty we're painting for our children and ourselves when we assume young (or thin or tanned or muscular etc) to be compliments rather than observations. We might want to be careful here. 

Not a single one of us is entirely healthy, we all live in this same polluted, pesticide using, preservative filled and convenience craving world. So when we do focus on getting healthy (perhaps with our weight or our mental health or our strength or our careers or our youthfulness or all of the above or none of the above) then we should celebrate and compliment that. Not a look so much as an intention. 

Beautiful is something I see all around me. In all the beautiful people I see taking care of their kids, loving their parents, working hard at the feed store, sharing a laugh with each other, holding the door open, telling a story to a stranger, driving a friend to the store. Seeing this beauty and celebrating it is my idea of a compliment.

We know that many of us are born with such a drastically unusual look or uncommon bodily movements that we surprise and challenge people just with our appearance. This does not mean we can't be or aren't beautiful. This does not mean we should be relegated to only "different" compliments.

Imagine, though, if everywhere around us we saw happy, confident, powerful people of all looks, sizes, colors, body movements, and ages, being complimented for who they are and what they do - and being known as beautiful.

A compliment is nice and I like getting them! I really do! But compliments (to me) are not about looks; they're about actions and intentions. The things I do, the things I try to do, the reasons I try to do them-it feels fantastic to have that recognized. The work is hard and it nourishes me to have it appreciated.

When I was young I wanted to be pretty, I really, really, really did. So I understand caring about looks. But when I was young I was also overwhelmingly surrounded (as most of us are) by a world that celebrated and complimented pretty. It wasn't until I got older and started thinking for myself that I purposefully let that go. 

Now I'm so far from caring about appearance that I almost forget how that felt. Almost. 

But I stand here on the edge of understanding and I promise you, it's better to feel complimented by, and to compliment, our actions and intentions! I feel beautiful and confident like I never have before. 

When people tell me I look young, I don't mind. I love that people feel comfortable sharing a vision of me. But when people start adding "will you tell me your secret" or "you're so lucky" or "what do you use and where can I buy it" I can't help but wonder, "Why?"

I don't mind looking young, but I don't overly value it either. It's just a thing. A thing that matches one side of me that I like and doesn't match another vision I have of me, and I think that's fine!

Friends, growing older is freaking beautiful!!!! 

And not everyone has the honor of doing it. 
So, perhaps, let's value the honor of honoring it. 

What we choose to compliment and celebrate is powerful. I think it's time we step back and make a shift in trajectory. 

Just some thoughts, 
from giggly, silly, young-ish looking me! 

(maybe with a hint of insight from wise, grey, wrinkly, beautiful older me?? tee hee!)

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Autism Answer: Over The Years

Me and my brother.

When I have to run errands and my brother wants to come with me (he usually wants to come with me!) I almost always happily bring him along. 

When I have to run errands and my autistic brother wants to come with me (he often wants to come with me!) I think about where I'm going and what the people will do when they see him flick and jump and clap, then I shrug and remind myself that he has as much right to the world as anyone, and I bring him along. 

When I have to run errands and my severely autistic brother wants to come with me (he sometimes wants to come with me) I avoid looking at him and show him all the things around the house he can do while I'm gone and worry about the people at the store who will be frightened or inconvenienced by his flicks and jumps and clapping and then I worry about the food he will eat while I'm gone and the mess he will make and I feel momentarily trapped but then I remember how easily my mom happily takes him everywhere when she can and so I pretend to be comfortable bringing him along. 

When I have to run errands and my low functioning autistic brother wants to come with me (he follows me around when I'm babysitting) I change my mind and stay home because I don't like everybody staring at us or worrying about my brother eating food off the ground and I don't want to teach anybody how to care about us and I don't know how to care about us so I look at the clock or calendar and wait until mom gets home. 

I've learned a lot about love over the years. 

My brother has been patient. My mom has consistently loved us equally and taught us what we needed to know based on where we were. 

The world is a little bit slower to learn about love and acceptance, but I refuse to stay home and fear it. Not because I'm better than anyone or smarter, but because I've been given the gift of patience and consistent teaching by my brother and my mom. And I know that there is almost nothing in my life I appreciate more. 

So I will bring my family along as I give the world that same gift no matter how long it takes. 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

My brother, Dar, about twenty-five years ago.
# # #
Author's Note: I invite you to read my book Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up for more insights and over-the-years life lessons. Peek at the book and costumer reviews on Amazon. Hugs!!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Autism Answer: I'm Not Afraid Of Kevin Reese (The Ghost At My Door)

Author's Note: In celebration of Halloween I thought it would be fun to share this true ghost story and what I learned from my long ago ghostly midnight visitor. Happy Halloween friends!
I was twelve years old, asleep in my basement bedroom. I loved it down there because as the helpful oldest daughter in a family of eight, I had been offered the basement bedroom as proof of my maturity. Everyone else slept upstairs while I had freedom and privacy alone beneath them. However, on this particular autumn night I was unexpectedly wide awake. It was barely past midnight and I had a feeling I'd heard the doorbell ring. I wasn't afraid. I knew my strong, protective step-dad would take care of the midnight visitor appropriately. But lying there I didn't hear the familiar movement of family above. Strange. And then again, I heard the doorbell ring. 

I'm not a brave person, and I'm not a strongly intuitive person, but that night somehow I knew the visitor wanted to see me and that I had no reason to be afraid. Quietly I tip toed barefoot out of my room and up the wooden steps which led to the front door of our home.

I'll admit, I looked around uncomfortably for a moment. Not afraid so much as aware of the strangeness in the situation. I stood alone on the landing, breathing the cool air and listening for sounds of family, and for any sounds from outside of the door. When I heard nothing I raised my twelve year old self up on my toes to peek out of the peep hole. Who I saw standing there didn't make any sense. 

Kevin Reese was in juvenile prison. Also, he and I weren't really friends; we'd only had that one night several months before chatting on the swing-set at our local park. Sure, we'd really connected and talked openly about deep, important and intimate things. Sure, it felt different and dangerous. Back home my best friend was phoning my mom and pleading with her to save me from the bad boy, Kevin Reese. But he wasn't bad. He was scared and defensive. He was new to our school and, his reputation preceding him, pushing boundaries and people smaller than him in order to not disappoint us, mimicking the pushing he received at home. After that night on the swings he didn't change, and we didn't then hang out or anything, but I wasn't afraid of him and he was respectful of me. Now, though, he was in juvenile prison. So how could he also be looking at me, relaxed and almost relieved, through my peephole? 

I didn't answer the door. Somehow, I knew he didn't need me to. His look, even with the weird warping of the peephole, told me what he'd come to say. I ventured back down to my room and fell quickly to sleep. 

The next morning at school was pandemonium. Whispers and gossip and tears. A car full of teenagers had escaped the juvenile prison the morning before, had been involved in a high speed car chase and crashed. Everyone, including Kevin Reese, had died. 

Everyone, including Kevin Reese.

I was in a state of shock, not unlike my peers. Making my way down the halls of our high school, one of Kevin's friends--a girl who had her own bad girl reputation--motioned to me, inviting me to follow her into the girl’s bathroom.

We found ourselves alone in a stall. I noticed that, despite her acne and scowl, she was extremely pretty. I found myself comparing our similar underneath-it-all physical appearance. "Kevin talked about you often, you know," she was telling me with uncharacteristic softness. "You didn't judge him, you didn't point and talk about him, and you weren't afraid of him. Actually," she added, "I was sometimes jealous because he'd say you were the only person who really understood him." I was nodding quietly, confused and honored and lost in questions. I mumbled my appreciation to her, knowing that it was a risk for her to be seen talking sweetly to me, indeed to be seen talking sweetly at all. I wasn't the only one who went out of my way to get to know people drastically different than me.

Kevin Reese had come to my house that night, a ghost that was relaxed and relieved. I believe he wanted me to know, went out of his way to let me know, that he was okay. I didn't waste much time grieving the life he lived, instead I wondered often about the value of authentic kindnesses shared with strangers and silent friends. Kevin Reese claimed that I had given him a gift the night we hung out on the swings at the park, but he and his pretty friend had given me a much bigger gift by going out of their way to see me. Even when it was dangerous or impossible. Even when Kevin was dead.

I have been both the giver and the receiver of similar such authentic and random kindnesses over the years. It's been both life changing and easy. 

It's been easy,
because I'm not afraid of Kevin Reese. 

At The Window by Shay Shelton

Author's Second Note: I truly hope you enjoyed my ghostly true tale! I do, of course, realize that my story is lacking in specific Halloween and Autism or Parenting tips. Not to worry! My mom, international expert Lynette Louise aka The Brain Broad, has this for you, HALLOWEEN: The Holiday Made For Autism (With These Important Tips). Also, a few years ago I had the honor of sharing my tips for enjoying Halloween while spending little to no money. Feel free to check that out HERE. 

Hugs, smiles, and..... BOO! Gotacha! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Autism Answer: The Memories To Come

My seventeen year old son, Shay.

Me: (running to the back of the house, barging into my seventeen year old son's room, and crying out at the top of my voice) I want to snuggle city all of my sons right now!!!!

Shay: (my seventeen year old son, sitting on his bedroom floor writing a story and watching Doctor Who) You are so weird, mom. I want to try five minutes in your head. 

Me: (sitting down on the floor beside him and scooting close excitedly) Oooooohhhh! That would be fun! You go in my head and I'll go in your head. 

Shay: (patting my head and looking at me protectively) No, no, no, no. That would never work. My head is filled with teenager memories. You don't want to get stuck in teenager memories. 

Me: (looking up at him and marveling at his height) Dude! I have teenager memories too you know. I can take it!

Shay: (immediately, with no pause, adjusting his glasses and making comfortable eye contact) Yes, but you also have memories of how you got through the teenager memories. I'm seventeen, I don't have those yet. 

We look at each other in silence and mutual understanding for a moment. I love him so much. 

Me: (laying my head on his shoulder and pulling my legs up into my chest) You're right, good point. We'll do the memory swap in a few years. (trying to sound nonchalant, I add) I'm glad you know that, even though you don't have the memories of how you get through the teen years yet, you will. You will have those memories. 

Shay: (squishing my cheek) You're so adorable. 

Then we watch a few minutes of Doctor Who together. I listen to my son tell what things he would explore and the timelines he'd visit if he had a Tardis, and I know that as a mom I don't need a Tardis to discover and explore and feel responsible for other worlds and timelines. 

I also know that it's an adventure and responsibility I wouldn't change for the world--any world!

Happy Saturday, friends!

Have fun making "how you got through it" memories!!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

Me and Shay.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Autism Answer: Marketing and Parenting - The Bigger Picture

I've shared and pinned and sponsored the docu-series FIX IT IN FIVE with LYNETTE LOUISE aka THE BRAIN BROAD often. It takes us on an adventure of delightful discovery and shows what to do (while candidly explaining our mistakes as well) when we teach our children. Autism, seizures, violent behavior, ADHD, Tourett's, Anxiety... these are a few of the challenges each five episode season invites us to understand and take kind action to change. The show is beautiful, emotional, candid, smart, and--like all good stories--introduces us to difference while remaining innately relatable. 


Here's The Thing Though About Marketing: As a society we react quickly and reach easier for our wallets when our crocodile brain is engaged, when our most basic emotions are poked and prodded. 

Fear, anger, survival; these are, simply, good marketing tools. And easy. "Don't Do This Or You'll Get Fat!" "Terrorists On The Train" "What You're Doing Wrong When You Put On Your Makeup" "One Of Your Neighbors Is a Pedophile And He's Probably The One You'd Least Suspect" "Why Driving Is Giving You Cancer" 

I made up all of those headlines, but they are an example of what we're taught to do when learning marketing. 

I've noticed, too, that it's what we often do when we're teaching our kids. "Don't Jump On The Couch You'll Break Your Leg" "Never Talk Back To Grown Ups" "Eat Your Vegetables Or You Don't Get Dessert" "No Playing Until Homework Is Complete"

The thing is, this works. That is, if our goal is to get your money or your attention for a minute. That is, if we don't mind the byproducts of fear, self-doubt, continuous spiraling, and eventual outbursts of anger, hate, attempts to take control without guidance. 

In marketing, sadly, it is sort of okay. This means companies can make more products for more problems and cash in more and more and more....

As consumers I believe it's our job not to click those links, not to write those social media posts, not to trend those hashtags. But that's just me.

As parents, however, I'm more passionate about the problem of this habit. I, too, used to employ loud fear for attention, and then mumble possible answers without conviction or confidence. I believe that for most of us moms and dads and aunts and teachers and friends, that is the problem. We know what we're afraid of. We know what we don't want. However, we're far less clear on what we do want and how to help. 

This is a dangerous, dangerous, dangerous thing. 

Teaching is far more effective when we focus on useful answers and adventure toward the yes.

When we seek out the why and playfully challenge ourselves to discover answers.

"Jumping On The Couch Is Safer When You Put Cushions On The Ground" "Grown Ups Want To Help You Figure It Out" "Vegetables Give You Superpowers Of Concentration And Lead To Dessert" "Playing While Doing Homework Can Be One Long Funfest" 

My hope is that we'll shift our parenting and marketing techniques. In some ways, marketing might be an easier place to start because we know what we want: a sale. A share. A comment. With parenting our hearts and heads and souls are so caught up in the thing it's harder to be clear. We want love, skills, less pain for our special needs kiddo, more friends for our child, happiness, the ability to read, acceptance.... it can get messier. 

So maybe we start by paying attention to ourselves. No pressure, just notice. Let's say yes more (even when it's to say no) and let's click on links that celebrate rather than frighten. Stories that inform rather than shift us to conform. 

I've shared FIX IT IN FIVE with THE BRAIN BROAD a few times, and a few of my followers have liked and commented and shared and retweeted. But when I shared the video that my mom (Lynette Louise aka The Brain Broad) uploaded about Autism and the Oregon shooter, a video that tells us with clarity what we are doing wrong, it was shared and watched quicker. This is okay, it's an important video to be sure! 


But it's a video that we may never have needed if we were sharing, watching, and celebrating things like FIX IT IN FIVE. 

We need to make a shift. In marketing and in parenting. 

Most of us here at Autism Answers are already doing that, of course. I know I'm preaching to the choir!

So, let's sing louder! Let's get more people to sign up and learn our songs!! 

The world is filled with fun and beauty and yes opportunities. Wanna get all our friends to adventure with us?

I say yes!!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

Visit: www.brainbody.net
or www.lynettelouise.com 
for more, lovely, actionable, successful, answers!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Autism Answer: Take Advantage of a Quiet Mind to Hear Whispering Ideas (Tips to Beat Writer's Block & Parenting Block)

This is what it looks like to be busily beating Writer's Block. Not too shabby!

There was a reporter looking for writers who would share a tip for beating Writer's Block. She then wanted us to show how that tip could be transferred to writing wedding vows. I thought that was neat! So, I shared my tip. 

Then I thought it might be neat to share here with you, and transfer my tip, instead, to parenting. Because, you know, I like making everything about parenting!! 

So, my perseveration with parenting becomes your tip for beating Writer's Block and Parenting Block. (Feel free to roll your eyes at my obvious attempt to plant the 'perseverations are motivators and can be useful' seed. tee hee!) 

Tip 1  
How I beat writer's block:
I used to fear Writer's Block and that fear would paralyze me. It would make a home in my skull and point out all the obvious reasons that anything I had once upon a time written was merely fluke, and not nearly as good as I thought it was in the first place. But, I no longer fear it. Actually, today I embrace Writer's Block.

I get my writing energy from the mood that moves over me while I'm writing, but I get my ideas from the life I live when I'm not writing. So during those times that I find myself stumped by Writer's Block I take advantage of my quiet mind; I listen to and feel the ideas around me. When a feeling or idea starts an internal monologue, I just start writing, trusting that the mood will move over me.

It always does!

Tip 2  
Using This Tip for Parenting Block:
Quick Definition of Parenting Block - When you want to help your child feel happier or learn a skill or move forward but you feel like you've tried everything and you think you have no more ideas or creative solutions.

Don't fear Parenting Block, don't fear that you're not going to think of something helpful or impressively creative or pertinent to your child's situation. Fear hinders us in most things, especially parenting (and writing). 

Instead, trust that the mood will move over you; but listen actively to the ideas around you. Listen to the idea you get when you notice how often your daughter picks at her toes, feel the creative motivators that tickle your inner monologue when you hear your son repeat the same phrases or sounds that sooth him, wonder why the toe picking and sound repeating is a consistent habit for your loved one and listen when they show you, tell you, give you clues. Too often we are so busy parenting that we forget to slow down, follow, listen, and learn. 

Sometimes Parenting Block is our best Parenting Tool. 

When you are out of ideas, relax and listen. Don't fear that the ideas won't come, they will! And they will come easier when you get fear out of the way. 

Hear those whispers of ideas, listen to them, and then just start parenting. Trust the mood to move over you, allow it to meander (you can tweak the idea later) and know that parenting is only a little bit smart ideas and creative solutions. Mostly, it's you loving your child, learning with him, listening to her, and saying what you feel. 

So, turn up the volume on those whispering ideas, and parent from the place where you feel. 

Bonus Tip: 
Writer's Block & Parenting Block 
When all else fails, fall back on an old favorite. A thing you and your children love. Dancing, singing, walking, movie watching, building, cooking, wrestling, driving, reading. But do it with the intention for newness. Listen different and see different. Often our greatest moments come when we revisit an old favorite with new eyes and ears. 

This works for both writing and parenting!! 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

My oldest son, beating Writer's Block with an idea I gave him after my own Parenting Block.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Novel Outline: The Mice Will Play

The Mice Will Play

Okay. It's time for me to stop being so darned afraid that I can't write a great novel

How do I do that?

I'm going to write a novel!

I've got three strongly enticing novel ideas that are delicious "What if...." scenarios, filled with deeply interesting characters whom I've come to adore. All three novels are mostly completed--in my mind. 

Oh, I've written down stuff for all three of them. Stuff being useful to me, mostly, as a procrastination tool. I feel like I could write a great novel, but then I read one, a really great one, and I change my mind. I could never do that!!! 

Yet, I know I could write a novel. So, thanks to Chuck Wendig's consistent support of us fellow writers, and his insightful advice and suggestions (oh, and the shock-prod. And the threat of bees. Ooooohhhhh.... the bees!) I've decided to stop being afraid that I can't write a great novel, and to start writing a novel. I've also decided to write my first novel alongside the suggestion of Chuck's that we create an outline and share it. (It's the "share it" part that roped you in!)

In this way I'm pushed forward. 

I've also got this excuse if the whole thing turns out to be complete garbage: Well, it's not my fault! That's what Chuck told me to do!! 

You see? It's a win/win! 
tee hee! 

So, for my writing pleasure--and for your opportunity to peek underneath the garments of my first ever novel--here's my (I think?) outline: 

The Mice Will Play
an eventual novel by Tsara Shelton (maybe even a great one?)

Four brothers are left home for a night while mom goes out with friends. Her sister is getting married and it’s the bachelorette. The oldest, Rand, is sixteen and pissed off at being forced to babysit his brothers.  There is a campfire party tonight that he has to go to or the girl he has finally been making headway with (Marina) will find someone else. His mom is not stupid. She knows that’s how it works at his age. You have to be there or someone else will.  Heck, she went to the same campfire parties when she was in high school!

So he decides to go and bring his brothers. He could leave them home with the next oldest, Reese, but truth be told he’s not sure they wouldn’t tell. Also his baby brother, Raif, is a perfect chick magnet. Riley, the thirteen year old, might ask a few too many weird and annoying questions but by the time the booze is flowing and flirting turns into making out no one will care.  

The hike through the woods behind the house is uneventful. Reese listens to his ipod, Raif runs around excited and nervous to be going to a teenager party and Riley is constantly distracted by trees and bugs and rocks and sticks and ants and footprints.  

The party is just starting when they get there. Marina is smoking a cigarette, here hair black and frizzy as usual, her clothes a little dirty and disheveled looking. Rand feels his heart beat a little faster and his stomach tickle. He imagines she is probably thinking about politics or world hunger or corporate something or other. This is one of the things he is attracted to about her. She seems oblivious to the fact that no one else is interested and assumes that they want to know. Rand feels like if she likes him it will mean he is smart. He knows he isn’t but wants so badly to be.  

Rand starts swatting away worries about his brothers like flies. The new kid, Willie, is here. He’s dangerous and Rand knows that his youngest brother, Raif, will be drawn to him. Raif is half black and loves hanging around the older black guys like Lawson, DeShawn, and Kendal. They’re gregarious and get a kick out of his dance moves. They have an almost dangerous vibe, but Rand has been friends with them for a long time and really, they’re cool guys. Well, they were cool guys till Willie moved here. He’s angry in ways that this small town hasn’t really seen in its high school hallways. Things have changed with that crowd (and the newspaper headlines suggest they’ve changed for the entire town) and Rand knows he’d better keep Raif away from the whole group. He knows Reese, too, is angry. But not at society, at him. He knows he’s going to be pushing limits to piss Rand off. Already he sees him taking swigs of vodka and flirting heavily with Rand’s ex-girlfriend. And Riley, Riley isn’t likely going to participate in the drinking or smoking, and he’s probably not going to be overly influenced by the dangerous Willie, but there’s a real danger of him diving deeper into his imaginary world and ignoring everyone so completely that he gets hurt in a way Rand could never anticipate. 

As the party grows Reese starts drinking and gets pretty drunk. Rand finds him making out with one of the girls and then another. Raif is the life of the party and dances like Michael Jackson while everyone cheers him on. He also keeps asking Rand when they can go home… Riley goes missing.

Rand tries to get friends to help him find his brother but everyone just gives him shit for bringing them in the first place and say he’s probably gone home, or he’s around here somewhere, relax man

Marina goes with him to look. Reese is passed out so Raif comes as well.  Marina doesn’t seem to have an opinion on Rand bringing the troop to a campfire party. Rand is both pissed at Riley and worried. It’s just like Riley to take off and follow some stupid train of thought.  He’s probably checking for dinosaur bones a mile away because the shape of the clouds around the moon made him think he knew where to look. It doesn’t take them long to find Riley and he is looking for dinosaur bones but because he heard something that reminded him of Jurassic Park.  

The trek back to the party is slow, Rand and Marina are feeling kinda like staying in the woods together. Instead they gather Reese, who has thrown up twice and can’t find his phone, and Raif who moonwalks out of sight of the partiers and then whines to be carried home. Marina doesn’t live too far off the path so Rand walks her most of the way home, although not all the way because she doesn’t want him to be seen by her parents. Marina’s dad is alright but he doesn’t like Rand’s mom—she’s single and her boys have a variety of dads—so he doesn’t trust Rand. Marina kisses Rand lightly, and for a moment Rand forgets everything about the night other than this. But as he takes his brothers to the house he finds himself using the kiss to justify the whole evening, and his own desperate need to justify is too clear. Even he, a sixteen year old boy, can’t ignore that his decision had been unfair and unsafe. Raif and Riley go to bed. Reese and Rand stay up talking. 

Rand is still pissed at his mom for putting him in that position but even more than that, he doesn’t want her to find out. Reese is pissed at Rand for putting him in that position but even more than that, he doesn’t want mom to find out.  

They know that she will find out. 
They also know, because of past experience and that strange way she has of not-judging them into telling the truth, they will be the ones to tell her.

*Ramona, mom, grew up in this town. She has a bit of a reputation for being woo woo and hippy-ish--she took off with her older sister to live on an organic farm in Canada when she was sixteen and they both came back after two years, Ramona with a baby (Rand) and pregnant (Reese). Getting pregnant at eighteen and raising boys on her own she has always been deeply honest, easily loving, and always there. Making the little money they survive on by working in the local library and writing book reviews for a small independent online magazine her sister is the editor for. Her sons adore her but this adoration doesn't come without turmoil and confusion. Though they do know that she deserves a night out. That she deserves kids who would stay home and not risk losing one to a dinosaur expedition or alcohol poisoning. * (this is stuff that we learn through the course of the night, via inner conflict and dialogue.)  

The sun is coming up. Ramona’s boys are home, and just before they fall asleep the sound of crunching gravel tells them that so is Ramona. At the sound of the car door slamming shut, the two oldest boys fall asleep on separate couches.  
# # #

Okay, so that's it! 
That's the basic theme/idea/skeleton/outline of the novel I'm going to be working on. If you think it sounds interesting (I hope you think it sounds interesting!) and you think it has potential (I think it has potential!) then be sure to Opt In to have my posts delivered to your inbox! I'll keep you updated on the progress (please know, it will be slow!) of my first (maybe great?) novel!! 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!

If my outline for The Mice Will Play was fun for you to read, I invite you to check out my first published book Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up. Most of the stories are creative nonfiction, but there are a few short fiction stories as well, two of which were inspired by writing prompts offered by the previously mentioned Chuck Wendig