Robbed by the Girl Who Played Kimberly

Diff'rent Strokes

So many drums…

Remember Kimberly? She was the girl who moved to the beat of that other drum. While her adopted brother from Harlem was asking everyone what they were talkin’ ’bout, Kimberly was attending private school, deciding whether to go on ski trips with boys, and even grappling (for twenty-two minutes) with Bulimia.

Kimberly was also my very first crush.

Kimberly

Finding a way to shine…

I’m not convinced that I can entirely credit my crush to the lovely Dana Plato, who quietly played Kimberly behind her much louder costar. It was more that I had grown up just enough to notice the first age-appropriate girl who appeared on my TV screen. Nevertheless, there are some ‘firsts’ a boy never forgets—his first big TV, his first belly-laugh, and his first crush—so Kimberly lives on, to this day, in my affections.

The Girl Who Played Kimberly did rob me of something, though. She robbed me of the illusion that notoriety brings everlasting success. Continue reading

The “Right Age” for Mythology?

 

For this entry in my series, The Right Age for Young Readers, I hope to start a discussion about whether existing mythology provides as valid an adventure in YA fiction as newly invented worlds. An excerpt from my edited 3-day novel project, Olivia of Olympus, is the starting point.

Olivia of Olympus, by K. Alan
from Chapter ε—A Long List of ex-Fathers

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By the middle of this fifth chapter, Livi has gotten over her anger at her nerdy classmate, Kent, for ruining her chance to dance for scouts at a talent show. The show is cancelled when Kent cannot bring back his nerdier friend, Steve, after making him disappear. Trying to untangle the failed magic act, Livi and Kent, along with their friend Elsie, discover a portal to the ancient Greek land of Themiscyra. After learning of the Amazons’ abuses against Kent for simply being male, Livi is angry, and no longer just looking for Steve. Olivia is now looking for justice.

 

“You’ve got a lot to answer for, lady,” I sizzled upward to the Amazon Queen.

Hippolyta seemed remarkably unconcerned. “The slave’s time was short,” she reasoned. “His passing was inevitable. Killing him was a mercy.”

A sunrise behind us was revealing more detail to the surroundings where the sentries had taken us. We were in the arena of some kind of coliseum, with circles of concentric benches all around us. Kent was seated on the lowest of these, while Elsie tended to the most obvious of his wounds. It was up to me, then, to face the woman who I had thought, up until now, might want to help us.

“Even if that’s true,” I countered about Ozzie’s death, “That doesn’t explain your treatment of the other slaves.”

Hippolyta shared a look with each of her attendants, taking a little too long to examine their flowing hair and the flowers decorating it. As if they were all sharing a joke, she shrugged down at me from her throne, explaining simply, “They are men.”

“They’re your sons.”

My comment passed darkly over her features, and I knew I had pressed a button.

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Always Open

dennys-always-open

America’s Stories are Always Open

I’d like to defend America.

This might seem overly patriotic for a non-citizen, but I do not mean ‘defend America’ at its borders or beyond, the way its servicepeople do. Neither do I mean ‘defend America’ from within, like its law enforcement. What I am hoping to defend, here, is the source of inspiration that the America I know can infuse in a writer.

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