spring cleaning

Spring Cleaning and Inspiration

Hello Swooners and Happy Spring!

I know March can be a tough month for many (particularly those in the Northern half of the country) so I might be alone here, but I love March. It might be because I’m a Pisces—or because I’m type A—but the month that is specifically designated for Spring-cleaning can’t possibly be bad. Can it!? We are now nearing the end the dreary winter months and I’m here to offer you a little bit of relief for surviving these cold Vitamin D lacking days. And of course, throw in a little writing challenge at the end. 

So I promise this will come back around, but you might remember long ago, in a blog post far away, I wrote about a file box in the back of my closet. It’s basically a collection of everything I’ve ever written from a very young age (seriously, it dates back to at least fourth grade). Well, the other night I was digging through it trying to find something specific and though I never did find what I was looking for, I stumbled on something I was so ecstatic to find; I quickly abandoned my original mission. I had discovered a few of my book reports from seventh grade.

Now, you might not know this about me from my blog posts, but I am very much a rules follower. I imagine most of my friends and colleagues would agree, if there is a right way to do something that’s the way I go. I wait in line, I take my turn, I follow instructions, I do as I am told. Most of the time. There are a few instances where maybe that isn’t entirely true; one of those times was in seventh grade. In seventh grade I was bored in my English class. Being very bored is really the only excuse I have here. Each month we had to go to the library and pick out a book. We had one month to read this one book and write a one-page book report on it. Now, as I’m sure many of you can relate, I was an avid reader and active writer at the time so this assignment was a breeze for me. But instead of writing a book report about an actual book I read, one month I wrote a book report about a book I wanted to write. Yep, I wrote a paper on a book that was completely fabricated by an author who didn’t exist. And my teacher didn’t notice (well, maybe he did, I guess I’ll never know, but I got an A on the assignment). And just like a true rebel, I was hooked on my life of crime. So the next month, I wrote another book report about another fake book. I made up another author and her background information as well as plot, characters and themes and ideas I took from the stories. I even included specifics like page count. The third month, I decided to repeat the author from the first month and compare her two (completely made-up) stories. That book report was over two pages and I got extra credit.

claire's book report

I’m not going to lie, as a goody-goody this is a fun story to tell every now and then. But these book reports were hand-written in seventh grade and even though I am a bit of a hoarder (of only a few, very specific, things) I never imagined I still had these reports. So a few days ago, when I was sorting through my file box you can imagine that I was more than a little pleased to come across these book reports. I wish I could tell you that I was a child prodigy and the plots I crafted are complex and interesting and I have decided to quit my dream job in publishing to write the next great American novel based on my seventh grade fabricated book reports but no. Honestly, the plots are terrible. But, there is a little something about my subtle rebellion that makes me smile.

So here is my challenge for you, Swoon Writers and Readers. Put down whatever you are working on—writing or reading. Open up a new, blank word document or turn a fresh page in your notebook and write a book report. It only has to be one page (extra credit if it’s longer). Your report should have an intro paragraph, a summary paragraph, a paragraph about the main character, and a paragraph about what you think the theme of the book was, and a closing paragraph. Although, in the spirit of 12-year-old Claire, you of course can reinvent the rules here too. The purpose here is to stretch your imagination. Don’t worry about details, continuity, or reality—just make it up. Tell a story. Because that’s why we are all here, right? We all love a good story.

P.S. For the record, I did get caught. Four months into this scheme my mom read one of my book reports, put the pieces together pretty quickly and she was less than thrilled. But even then, I think she was slightly amused.    

Author spotlight

Claire T.

When I was little I used to carry one of the Baby Sitter Club books with me wherever I went. …

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