November 3, 2014

Goodreads Choice Awards, and The Saddest Ninja Turtle

Woke up this morning to discover that CITY OF STAIRS is a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy Novel of 2014! Quite a delight!

More baffling, I am up against what looks like the biggest heavy hitters in fantasy genre fiction:



So, uh, yeah. Maybe give a fella a hand and vote? If you liked it, of course.


Halloween is probably my favorite holiday of the year, even more than Christmas. With Christmas, you generally know what’s going to happen. With Halloween, there’s an air of spontaneity around it, the idea that anything could be lurking around the corner.

And there’s a strange cultural pool for Halloween: no matter where you grew up, Halloween is so often filled with references and images suggesting New England in the early 20th or 19th century. All the haunted houses that serve as the old standbys are always these massive old Neoclassical or Queen Anne homes that, odds are, were likely not very prominent in your area. It’s odd that we have this mentally agreed-upon cultural space for Halloween, even if it’s not actually your culture.

A lot of my fondness for Halloween probably comes from my own childhood, of course. Growing up in South Carolina, the first frost always seemed to be timed with Halloween, and the leaves would all change colors and start falling almost instantaneously, as if they’d had a meeting the night before and agreed upon it.

Now living in Central Texas, sometimes you get cold weather in October, and sometimes it doesn’t come until December. (Or even January.) But my own son is continuing a proud Bennett family tradition for Halloween: setting his expectations way, way too high.

It makes sense, once you think about it. He is presented with images and ideas of heroes from a very early age. It is suggested, through marketing and perhaps the show’s messaging itself, that he, too, could become such a hero. And on Halloween, it’s implied that one needs only put on the right clothing and costume in order to instantly transform into that thing you dearly wish to be.

What’s not so intuitive is that there’s a leap of imagination there, that you have to accept that you’re not actually going to be the thing that you’re dressing up as, that you’re going to have to do a lot of the work of making this feel real for you. In other words, if your hopes outrun your imagination, it might…. it might not be too fun for you.

Which leads us to – the Saddest Ninja Turtle.

saddest ninja turtle

He was pretty heartbroken. I suppose he just didn’t realize that painting his face, wearing a mask, and wearing a costume would NOT magically transform him into a Ninja Turtle. He would still be a toddler with a painted face and a saggy costume.

This would be the third time he’s reacted this way to a costume. When he realized wearing a Superman or Batman costume would not instantly make him Superman or Batman, it was… Well. His reaction was a lot louder, I’ll put it that way.