Post image for lemony snicket is our man

Since we’ve been talking about college application essays, I might also add that Lulu wrote two application essays on Lemony Snicket. Apparently this was a bad idea, as she got wait-listed at both schools. Then again, one might assume that a school which wait-lists applicants who write essays on Lemony Snicket has a severe lack of imagination. In which case writing essays on Lemony Snicket is probably a good idea–after all, who wants to go to a college that lacks imagination?

I’m rather fond of essays on Lemony Snicket. In fact, I wrote one myself, and it’s up at Literary Mama today. It’s an essay on my family’s shared love of Snicket, the writer who has served as a literary mentor to each of my kids, even though he isn’t real.

Well, he isn’t real if you lack imagination.


For the Love of Lemony Snicket

I think you’d like it, Mama,” H. said, passing the box of cassettes forward from the backseat of the car.

Our Mary Poppins audiobook had just ended, and we had another hour to drive. The box contained the audio version of The Wide Window, the third book in the Series of Unfortunate Event seriesI did not think I would like it.

“Aren’t these books depressing?” I asked. “About orphans who have nothing but bad luck? I don’t like depressing books.”

“They’re not depressing.” H. was nine. He had read the first few books in the series on his own. “Just try it.”

There was such earnestness in my kid’s voice and so many miles of Interstate 80 before us. I clicked the first cassette into the player.

It couldn’t have been more than a few paragraphs in, around the point when infant Sunny Baudelaire shrieks, “Toi!” and narrator Lemony Snicket explains, “By ‘Toi!’ she probably meant ‘I have never eaten a peppermint because I suspect that I, like my siblings, am allergic to them’ but it was hard to tell” that I stopped the tape and said, puzzled, “This is funny.”

“These books are funny,” H. said. “I told you you’d like them.”

You can read the rest at Literary Mama.

P.S. There’s an accompanying writing prompt at Literary Mama, with a chance to get published on their blog. Try it out!


in which she bashes traditional schooling

March 31, 2014
Thumbnail image for in which she bashes traditional schooling

photo by Lulu When we last met here, I was tearing my hair out at the wait for Lulu’s college application results. I knew there might be a few restless nights of sleep involved, but I never imagined how much I would worry about the essay she’d written for her Common App. L. heard from [...]

21 comments Read the full post →

the wait

March 21, 2014
Thumbnail image for the wait

It’s mid-March and a hellish time if you happen to be seventeen or eighteen years old and have applied to colleges. Some colleges have started sending out their acceptances and rejections, via email and sometimes letter. Most are coming in the next week or so. Meanwhile my girl waits, on the very precipice of the [...]

14 comments Read the full post →


March 7, 2014
Thumbnail image for clean

For years Chris has told me that we should hire a housecleaner. Before you read too much into that, it’s not that I’m a terrible housekeeper. I’m just, like everyone, busy. It’s also not that he is an unhelpful husband. No, I managed to marry one of those rare, neater-than-his-wife husbands, the sort of husband [...]

16 comments Read the full post →

writing ideas: infographics

February 7, 2014
Thumbnail image for writing ideas: infographics

So, what do you do when you homeschool and you have a kid who doesn’t take to projects? Who loves to read and research and talk, but has utterly no interest in taking those ideas and making a model, or painting a picture, or crafting a handmade book? When you have a kid whose interests [...]

34 comments Read the full post →


January 16, 2014
Thumbnail image for record

You know how when a new year rolls around, some people come up with a word for that year? Something that will guide them and give a mission to their year? My online friend Amy of mama scout selected story as her guiding word this year. I’ve tried this in the past, but apparently it didn’t [...]

28 comments Read the full post →

i recommend hopping right on

December 31, 2013
Thumbnail image for i recommend hopping right on

Here I am, getting one last post under the wire in 2013. Seems like a good idea, since I haven’t written here since November. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have, in fact, written two nearly complete blog posts in the past few weeks; in both cases by the time I got around to finishing them, [...]

16 comments Read the full post →

become a writing mentor to your child, part 8: encouraging without discouraging

November 20, 2013
Thumbnail image for become a writing mentor to your child, part 8: encouraging without discouraging

I got invited to this party too. Lulu has been writing college application essays. For the past few months she’s been talking through them with me. Often that’s meant she comes home from school on a Friday afternoon all worked up and wanting to talk. I’m not sure what it is about Friday afternoons, but [...]

16 comments Read the full post →

18 things i love about my girl

October 31, 2013
Thumbnail image for 18 things i love about my girl

She appreciates Wes Anderson films down to the art on the walls and the title fonts. She texted me when Pagoda died. She says that her brothers are “my favorite people in the world.” She has the biggest blue eyes. As a newborn, they overwhelmed her face: she looked a little like Yoda. Before long, [...]

33 comments Read the full post →