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The Definition of Punky Power


I have recently been rewatching Punky Brewster with my 5 year old son. He likes the show a lot, especially the first two seasons where Punky is younger and closer to his age. Margaux is his favorite (there is no accounting for taste).

The show often gives him grandiose ideas that I then have to deal with:

He sees Punky build a treehouse in her backyard, then he wants one. I have to point out that the only tree in our backyard is ending its life and loses another limb with every ensuing storm.

Punky sets up a restaurant in her living room. Next thing I know, the chairs from my kitchen table are moved into the dining room around his play table—never mind that the chairs tower over the table.

Punky has little puppy Brandon trailing her every move. Then he wants a puppy. There is no reasoning with him, although I point out that we already have a dog, with vaguely similar features, who has the advantage of already being trained and broken in.

My sweet Dave dog.

My sweet Dave dog.

*sigh* Kids.

I hope in all this he is soaking up some of the good lessons the show has to teach as well. If you are familiar with the show at all (which you SHOULD be!), you will know that Punky often shouts “Punky Power!” And it is a great catchphrase. It was very handy to throw onto Punky merchandise in the 1980s. But I was pleased, in a Season 3 episode titled “Tons of Fun”, to be given a succinct definition of what Punky Power is actually made up of. Which just reinforces my thoughts that no matter who you are or how old you are, you probably could use a little Punky Power in your life as well…

Punky Power:

  1. Believing in yourself.
  2. Never giving up.
  3. Faith that things are gonna turn out OK.
  4. You can do anything you want if you really try.

I know, I know. I am supposed to be an adult now, and not believe in such gibberish. Some people try their hardest and just never make it. But I look at it as I have lived my life in reverse. When I was a child, I acted more like a tiny adult. I knew my mom struggled being a single parent. I knew we had money issues. I grew up to get a responsible job to pay my own way in life.

And I was miserable.

So, in order to not slit my wrists every morning, I need to believe now in childish things, such as hopes and dreams and that maybe life will get better.

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My New Favorite Movie

I found my new favorite movie on Netflix the other day. It is called “Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story.

Lifetime's "Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story"

Lifetime’s “Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story”

I will say right off the bat that this is an unauthorized biography. So all the facts are probably not 100 percent true. They may have had to make up situations to string together actual events. It comes across in some spots as cheesy and sugar-coated. And it is a Lifetime movie, so there is the requisite woman getting knocked around scene.

But the end result is like a Cinderella story for aspiring writers.

At the end of the movie, we are given the info “In three years, J.K. Rowling went from being a welfare mother to one of the richest women in Great Britain.”

That just astonishes me.


The movie is loaded with suppositions about where Jo Rowling may have gotten her inspirations for Harry Potter. Her best friend in high school is a boy with red hair that she labels “weasley”, whose car looks like someday movie magic might make it fly. Jo’s school teachers bear more than a passing resemblance to Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape.

Weasley look-alike and young Jo with awesome hair and eye makeup

Weasley look-alike and young Jo with awesome hair and eye makeup

I was surprised at all the money Lifetime put into the movie. There were several special effects shots to illustrate Rowling’s creative process. There was everything from a symmetrical building turning into Gringotts bank to chess pieces engaging in physical battle with one another to candles floating above her head as she pecked away on her ancient typewriter.

The movie shows the joy as Rowling receives her first book advance check. She is seen buying her toddler daughter a giant teddy bear. And maybe, just maybe, that would be the first purchase. But I bet a close second was the purchase of a computer. That would make working on her follow-up book immensely easier.

The movie portrays Rowling as always wanting to be a writer, but she was influenced (mostly by her parents) to have a practical career. Then her writing suffered, never more than just a hobby. When she put all her concentration into it, that is when she became successful. I can highly relate to that.

If you only think of your writing as a hobby, that is all it will ever be. And if you are convinced that you need a practical career and writing isn’t it, then writing will never be your career.

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