Friday, August 8, 2008

The Magic of the Eighth Day of August

In which I reveal I am sort of a math geek and eventually get to something related to writing for kids.

I love numbers. I love numbers and I am actually quite good at math. There. I said it. This is not something cool to say amongst writers anywhere. But I confessed to some folks this week and it felt so good to be outed I want to shout it from the tree tops.

"I love numbers!"

Today is 8/8/8. Sweet. I can't remember what I did on 7/7/7, but I remember 9/9/99 was my birthday and that was also sweet. 9/9/81 was my tenth birthday and I was already so excited to be turning DOUBLE DIGITS and then my number-loving Grandma Myra pointed out that it was also, oh. my. god. SQUARE ROOT DAY.* Number bliss.

On 8/8/88 I went to a Crosby, Stills, Nash and maybe Young concert with my friends.** We talked about it for weeks, about how great the concert was going to be and how beautiful and life-changing and important, and given that this one concert might change the very core of who we were just by having been there, how cool it was that it was falling on 8/8/88, this day that had to have some extra magic in it by virtue of its 8-ness. So at 8pm on 8/8/88, we were standing on chairs and singing along at the top of our lungs and, yes, it was magic.

And this is where I get into writing for kids. It was a concert. Did it change my life, really? No. But I thought it might, and so it was important to me, so important that I remember it vividly 20 years later. From an adult perspective, life is long, this is one concert, the eights are just numbers, just a date. But to my teen self, the concert was life itself.

It is easy to remember the magic of early childhood, the caterpillars turning into butterflies that just might be fairies magic that my daughter Tinkerbell sees everywhere now. It is harder, I think, to remember the magic that stayed with us as teens. I mean the magic that filled every day, every interaction with IMPORTANCE, the magic that let us fall in mad, passionate, heart-wrenching love in a week, the magic that made it possible for one concert to seem like if I missed it, the rest of my life would have a hole in it. As writers for kids of any age, we must respect that magic and how real it is. And our books must be full of it too, even when it seems "unrealistic" to our sadly magic-lacking grown-up selves.

I am moving today, not very far away, but still, it's a change. And I have just enough of the sense of numbers magic still in me to be happy it's today, because maybe the numbers symmetry will lend us some magic in the change.

Happy 8/8/8 everyone.

*because 9 times 9 makes 81, in case you didn't catch it.
** This was obviously after my poser punk phase, when I was experimenting with hippie.


C.R. Evers said...

Ohhhhh! I love the idea of today being magical. I'll have to do something special to make it memorable.

Good luck with your move!

And congratulations for coming out of the closet with your love of numbers. ;0)


cindy said...

8 is actually a very fortuitous number in the chinese culture. it "sounds like" growth and good fortune. =D so happy moving day! i think you chose a good time to do it. please share fotos of your new writing space when you're done. =D

Elise Murphy said...

Good luck moving. You are a brave woman!

I am impressed by your calm demeanor in the face of coming chaos; I hope to learn from your example come October!

Whoo-hoo for 8/8/8!

Marcia said...

Glad to find another math geek writer. I actually forsook English to major in math. In the Bible, the number 8 is associated with new beginnings, and in the Greek language the numerical equivalent of Jesus' name is 888. I don't know Greek or Hebrew, but how cool are languages whose words are also numbers?

J. Thorp said...

Back atcha, a day late, J.

Jacqui said...

I'm sorry I didn't get to these comments sooner; I had no internet access. Thanks for all the well wishes!

Jacqui said...

And, how lucky are these babies?