The following must be included in your novel, or else you risk imprisonment, or worse:

  1. seven-league boots
  2. imps, djinns, genies, demons, fairies (in any combination)
  3. a magical object used to focus the power of the magician
  4. scrying, with a glass or in a pond
  5. animals that talk
  6. an immature magician
  7. a dragon

Bonus points if you include:

  1. multiple dimensions
  2. an invented language

We watched Bandslam yesterday, a good family movie. My six-year-old was bored to tears, but there was nothing objectionable, so we could watch it while he played in the same room. It’s a rare movie that portrays a good parent-teen relationship with humor and lack of cursing. I enjoy movies about adolescents; they remind me that idealism is important. I have become a bit jaded in my middling years and need a nudge sometimes. Have you noticed how some people get more and more bound by their chosen path? It’s as if once they’ve decided just who they are, they have to defend that position until they die. Well, my position is this: there’s nothing wrong with a little moderation.

My daughter, who is 11, told me that she wants “to be bad.” This does give me pause, but I’ve developed a plan. I am going to direct her nascent rebelliousness toward corrupt politicians, corporate greed and social injustice. It’s hard to expose your children to some of the horrors of the world (Darfur, Iraq) but I think it’s time to start introducing some current events to our curriculum.