So, I have two things I want to talk about today. They have more to do with parenting than writing, but I do think that my perspective as an artist does make me look at these two things differently.
My first issue is this; I see all over the internet and all through magazines aimed at moms articles with titles like “Ways to Limit Screen Time For Your Kids.”
I’m sorry, what? I feel like we missed a step here. Like the one where we all got together and decided that screen time was a bad thing.
In case you’re wondering, screen time is defined as any time someone spends in front of the computer, tv or smart device. You know, my entire life.
I highly encourage my monsters to have ‘screen time.’ In fact, here’s a list of the things my kids do on screens.
- Go to school
- Play games with each other
- Play games with me and the husband
- Play awesome creative games like Mind Craft, where you can either farm, or go to the moon in a rocket ship depending on how creative you feel like being that day.
- Watch shows like Mythbusters, which is why the older monster wants to got to MIT and become an engineer.
- My younger one has an art program that allows her to create some really cool graphic artwork. Her grandma’s in box has been stuffed.
- Email relatives they don’t get to see very often.
- Watch movies with me. I love watching movies.
Now, you tell me, why would I want to limit any of that? I’m not saying my kids are couch potatoes who never go outside. But I am saying that I’m not going to tell them to put down that book and go do something else.
In fairness, I don’t have a problem with my kids not wanting to play outside. They totally want to go do that. So I guess I might be singing a different song if that wasn’t the case, and if your kids don’t lie to you about the weather just to go outside, disregard my irritated attitude.
I think the articles we should see, instead, should be emphasizing quality screen time instead of demonizing the quantity. For instance, I would let my kids email their grandmother a million times a day, but I do not allow them to blow up their friends emails. They can play Minecraft and Portal so long as their homework is done, but we don’t do first person shooters. (Okay, that’s a lie. They don’t do first person shooters. I love me some Resident Evil.) They can watch Dr. Who, Mythbusters and all of the documentaries they want, but I will be damned if they’ll put Spongebob on in my house.
Which brings me, by the by, to my second rant. Spongebob offends me as an artist.
I’m not saying it’s the artwork. It’s fine, bright, cheerful. Just what you’d want for a children’s show. I’m not saying it’s the writing, or the music, or the asinine characters. No, it’s the way one particular character is portrayed, in stark contrast to the main character.
That’s right, I’m going to defend Squidward. I’m going to defend him a lot, and do you know why? He loves the arts, lives for them. He wants to be a painter, and a musician. Both are admirable things to aspire to. He hates his terrible, dead end job. He wants to be better at the things he loves, and so he practices with every available second he has. He would like his neighbor to not ruin his damn house and garden! And the thing I admire most is that when he does something, he wants to be as amazing as possible at it. He doesn’t want to just garden, he wants to grow the most rare and beautiful coral. He doesn’t just want to play music, he wants to have his band play at the Bubble Bowl. And if he is going to blow a bubble, it should be the best of bubbles.
So what happens to him? He’s demonized. His hopes and dreams are ruined at every turn. And that’s funny? I can ignore the fact that Spongebob himself is content to spend his days in a shitty job and screwing around with his friends. People with no ambition aren’t bad, or even wrong just because they have a different lifestyle than me. But I cannot ignore the fact that he constantly belittles the person who actually wants more from his life.
Alright, my rant is over. Thank you all for your patience while I overreact to a kids cartoon.
What Rocked This Week
- I finished editing all of the stories for Days, and Other Stories. I also got a good friend and amazing artist to do the illustrations for me. It might not be done by Christmas, but I’m looking at a hesitant release date of mid January, early February.
- I got my first rejection letter for Broken Patterns, and I sent it right back out. Many more will follow, I’m sure.
What I’m Looking Forward To Next Week
- Spoiler! I got an amazing idea for a new novel. Now, I’m kind of obsessed with Woven, so I don’t want to break into novel writing time for it. So, I’m going to write the story as a serial, and publish it right here! No further news here, I’ll just tell you that it’s Science Fiction. I like this, because it rounds out my Speculative Fiction title. More news as events warrent.
- This is my last full week at the day job before a really long Christmas Vacation! I am going to take a full two days off from the day job and all writing. That’s so not like me, but I am going to try.
Just everything right now makes me excited. Finishing up two big projects means that now I get to start on more new and exciting projects! Stay tuned.
What did you do this week that you’re super excited about? Let us know in the comments below.
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