So, How Was Your Day?

2 Apr

Simple question, right?

Well, here’s last night’s dinner table conversation:

“What a day it was at work,” said my husband. “First, during a conference call with a client, one of our staff got a text that her dog was diagnosed with cancer. She went white and had to leave for the rest of the day. Another person called in sick with a relapse of malaria…”

image credit: 123RF_compressor

Bartender! Another round!

My son’s day: “I got a wave-out for chair tipping and a safe space broken agreement when my chair landed on Sarah’s foot. Newt got a concussion from a basketball on the hard yard…”


My day: “Um, Sir Slipper and his trusty sidekick Slider the Slug saved Good King Canine from Evil Lord Dogbreath.”

When I’m living in my picture book world, I don’t have much use for realistic fiction. And now that I think about it, the story I just sent for my Squaw Valley Writers Workshop application skirts the edge of Southern Gothic “reality” a la Flannery O’Connor and Carson McCullers.

I’m curious to know. How would you categorize your day? Realistic fiction? Picture book fiction? Southern Gothic? Science fiction? Romance? Crime thriller? Textbook? Fantasy?


34 Responses to “So, How Was Your Day?”

  1. heylookawriterfellow April 2, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

    A “safe space broken agreement?” Is your son negotiating with the Soviets?

    I have never head of such a thing said in a school before.

    I must be a very very old man.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann April 2, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

      Liam attends a school that uses an “agreement system” where kids, teachers, staff, all agree to keep a safe space for others and themselves, respect property, be in their designated spaces, participate academically and in all other school activities, and to leave quickly and quietly when waved out.

      A wave out is a way for the teacher to interrupt undesirable behavior without interrupting class. They either say the child’s name or make eye contact and then wave toward the door. The child walks to the door, touches it, and then finds another place to sit in class. This gives the child time to think about changing their behavior and lets the teacher and other kids stay focused on the lesson.

      And since everyone signs the contract for following the agreement system, everyone from kindergarten through 8th grade follows these rules. It changes kids’ behaviors 90% of the time. On the 3rd wave-out for the same behavior, they take their work to another class and complete it there.

      If they break one of the agreements three times in a short period of time, they have a contract meeting where they, their teachers, and their parents discuss ways that will help the child change the problem behavior. For kids K-3, their contract for change lasts a week. They check in every day to monitor their progress. For grades 4-8, the kids are monitored for two weeks. If they break the same agreement within their contract period, another week is added to their contract for change. Sound crazy? It really works well. πŸ˜€

      • Jilanne Hoffmann April 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

        Oh, and I gotta tell you that his school was started by a few hippies in the early 70s. So very California, right? And as far as I know, you are not a very old man. Just ask your son. πŸ˜€

  2. robincoyle April 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    My day? I would categorize it as non-fiction. We met with a financial planner and I am waiting for a call from my lawyer who is helping me settle me uncle’s estate. Pretty dry stuff.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann April 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

      Yep, I’m thinking “legal documents” or “operating instructions.” Perhaps you should have a beer and liven things up?

      • robincoyle April 2, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

        Maybe how-to book? If I start drinking now, I’ll never get dinner on the table tonight! But excellent idea.

  3. Carrie Rubin April 2, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    I would categorize my day as material not fit for the slush pile. For the most part, it was a snooze-fest.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann April 2, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      Hmmm, I’m thinking “morning pages” or “clearing your throat,” the stuff you’re supposed to get out of your system before you really begin to write.

  4. johnnycrabcakes April 2, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    Surreal (as in, “Wow…we really did this…”) romantic reality television meets small-town-big-city-boy-and-girl-make-good-beginning-of-a-feel-good-it-takes-a-village-artsy-it’s-all-coming-together-story with a dose of crazy-poet-dude-attempting-NaPoWriMo-poem-a-day-despite-or-because-of-it-all-because-he’s-just-wired-like-that-and-it-just-feels-right…..
    ….or something like that πŸ™‚

    • Jilanne Hoffmann April 2, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

      Sounds like it has the potential to be as big as A Star is Born. πŸ˜€

  5. Call of the Siren April 2, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    I’d say that my day yesterday (not today) could fit on the same shelf as “maritime and naval adventures” — I spent the morning unclogging a toilet.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann April 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

      You should be a spin meister, writing jacket copy! I like it!

      • Jilanne Hoffmann April 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

        When my husband’s uncle and aunt sailed around the world, they sent out progress reports to everyone in the family. Did we hear about wild adventures in the southern Pacific? Pirates in the Indian Ocean? Hurricanes in the Atlantic? No! We heard every detail of how they had to keep repairing the head. Nothing else. So unclogging a toilet definitely qualifies as a maritime/naval adventure!

  6. Don Royster April 2, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    My day was a cookbook of the healthy sort. I started a diet recently and all I think about is food. What to eat and when to eat it.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann April 2, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

      You have my deepest sympathy. I’m not a fan of diets, so portion control works best for me. That, and staying away from copious amounts of 70% dark chocolate.

      Perhaps you need to open the pages of a different book? Something about hiking the Pacific Rim or Appalachian Trails? Richard Burton’s search for the head of the Nile? Adventure can often take one’s mind off eating.

  7. Vanessa-Jane Chapman April 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    My day, yesterday, (as it’s 6.10am now) can’t be described adequately without the use of expletives, which I’m thinking you probably don’t want on here, so I will just say Soap Opera (and not the glamorous side).

    • Jilanne Hoffmann April 2, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      Oh my, a romance novel gone awry? Or perhaps a family saga along the lines of King Lear? A novel about the trials and tribulations of the working class?

      Thank you, BTW, for keeping this blog “family friendly.” I do hope you have a better day today!

      That reminds me of “Gone With the Wind,” when Scarlet says: “Oh Rhett, Rhett! Without you where will I go? What will I do? But, I won’t think about that today. I’ll think about that tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day!”


      • Vanessa-Jane Chapman April 2, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

        I’m going to have to ride this one out for a bit longer than just the one day, but thank you for the Gone With the Wind quote, that made me smile! Maybe I shall immerse myself in lovely book quotations for a while…

  8. 4amWriter April 3, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    Definitely middle grade action/adventure verging on YA drama. And, as the unwilling supporting character, my role is to be dumped on. Good times, good times.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann April 3, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      Yes, I just have a 10-yr-old who is starting to show “tween” signs. Just trying to “keep calm and carry on.” Good luck to you!

  9. FictionFan April 3, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    I aimed for ‘cozy’ but as usual the day soon descended into ‘kitchen sink’ realism. Still, at least I’ve managed to avoid the ‘serial killer’ genre for another day…

    • Jilanne Hoffmann April 3, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

      Ah, yes, the wheels came off the airplane, did they? Well. I’d call the day a success, considering the serial killer option. How about a fairy tale for bedtime? Something to send you into the dreamtime on a pleasant note?

  10. cafecasey April 3, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    Definitely horror. Plumbing disaster of epic proportions, followed by fear of accountant, who hasn’t advised how many red blood cells the IRS wants this year. But since one of the things the plumber did was fix the shower, it ended on a self-improvement note with a bit of poetry as I got a shower that was actually warm. All in all, not bad.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann April 3, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

      Sounds like way too much horror-reality for me. But I’m glad it had a happy ending. I would also call a warm shower a bit of poetry in motion.

      Good luck with the IRS. I hope they leave you with enough to keep the oxygen flowing. Cheers!

      • cafecasey April 4, 2014 at 1:45 am #

        Last year I saved enough to convert my old-house cesspool to septic. Not an emergency, but important, mind you. They took that. I decided that the gov’t probably had more crap to deal with than me.

        • Jilanne Hoffmann April 4, 2014 at 8:05 am #

          My husband has an “S” corp that’s also a certified “B corp,” one that “uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Turns out 2013 was a good year compared to 2012. Next week, I’ll be writing a check for taxes that makes me choke. The rest of the profit will stay in the company to help it grow. I feel like we’re doing our share, and then some, to support local, state and federal governments in additional to helping nonprofits do their work more efficiently and effectively.

        • cafecasey April 5, 2014 at 4:13 am #

          The more I hear this story the more I think it might be a rite of passage. Like when we first started and I downgraded my car. Turns out everyone sold his/her car if they’re in business… Maybe we need a support group;) Or maybe this is what this is… I’m waiting for the total. I just want to make sure it’s high enough to support all the schools or fill in all the potholes. And then I want the IRS to leave me personally alone for next year and let the business do the heavy lifting. Sigh.

        • Jilanne Hoffmann April 5, 2014 at 8:26 am #

          Good luck with that wish. And yes, this is your virtual support group. πŸ˜€

  11. Laurel Leigh April 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    Love it! And I have to say contemporary fiction with a dash of magical realism.

  12. Thom Hickey May 30, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

    Thanks. My day today would be pastoral lyric – I’m on holiday with wife and son by the coast in Scotland .. Lovely light and gentle sun. Enjoyed your post and will revisit your blog. Regards from Thom at the immortal,jukebox (featuring music for every mood!).

    • Jilanne Hoffmann May 30, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

      Thanks for the flyby, Thom! Lovely light and gentle son. Sounds like a perfect holiday. Will have to take a look at the jukebox and dig through my pockets for some quarters.

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