So, I am obsessing about how to get 7- and 8-year-olds excited about writing when I wake up one day to find my life has turned into a story written by a second-grader. Perfect, even sort of Kafkaesque. Who are the characters? A Weston family of four. What is their quest? Getting to Quest Lab for a routine test. What is their motivation? Hunger and not wanting to reschedule. Okay, not such stellar motives, but they'll have to do.
Now for the obstacles along the way: snow drifts up to the windowsills, an 800 number answered by an automated system leading our characters in circles in their search for answers to the question: Is the lab open today?, our heroine's desire to eat and drink (though fasting was prescribed). After a Google search, a magic number is discovered, which, when dialed, causes the voice of a real person to appear. This person gives the family three magic phone calls, at the end of which she tells them the lab is open and they may proceed.
Next obstacle: dressing a 4-year-old who absolutely has to wear her Little Bo Peep costume in the snow. Then: growing hunger, growing crankiness, unwillingness to let Little Bo Peep watch movies in the car; ensuing temper tantrum interrupted by the car wheels spinning in three feet of snow. Meeting the challenge, Husband/Father kicks away the snow. Mother requests that no one speak to her. Her stomach growls. The family proceeds to Norwalk, where they find the lab door locked. Mother brings to her lips the lox-on-multigrain she's packed for eating instantly post tests, but she is halted by another real voice at the end of an 800-number bearing tidings of phlebotomy just down the street. Blood is drawn, obstacles are overcome, kids' writing lesson number one is complete.
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