Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Toddler with a Camera

Last weekend the Little Scoot got hold of my phone.

As you can see, he had some fun with the camera.

Not my best photo.  A little creepy, actually.

I think he was going for some kind of artsy still life thing here.

This sequence is my favorite.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tell me a story...

"Tell me a story, Daddy."

We'd just visited the Currituck Lighthouse on the Outer Banks of Carolina.  The Little Scoot was in the habit of asking for "pretend stories," by which he meant he wanted me to make one up.  It can be mentally exhausting when he wants several in a row, but I have to say that it's a great exercise for a writer.  Can you make up a story on the spot with a coherent beginning, middle, and end?  Bonus points for incorporating whatever random elements are thrown at you by a three-year-old.

Currituck Lighthouse
(Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

After our visit, naturally, he wanted one about a lighthouse.

"Once there was a lighthouse who lived alone..."

When I finished the story the Coffee Queen urged me to write it down, so when we returned to the hotel, I did.  It didn't come out quite as well on paper as it did in the telling, but at least I captured it while it was fresh.

Fast forward several months.  With "Carrot" and one of my picture books just about ready for submission, I've been fighting with a second picture book I wanted to have ready.  But after banging my head against that story for several weeks, I decided to put it aside and work on the lighthouse story instead so I'd have something ready to read at Jane's workshop.  

After I read it on Tuesday Susan B. said it's the first time I've brought tears to her eyes.  Kristin said she felt like she'd heard a classic story.  To be sure, there are parts of the story that still need work, but I felt that they're more about sharpening what's there, that what's at the heart of the story is connecting.

It's humbling as a writer when you succeed at hitting that type of emotional chord.  I don't know that you can do it by consciously trying, but it's something special when it happens.  After banging my head against CJ's story for a while, it was good to switch gears and work on a story that's cooperating.  Now to polish it up.

And it all began with "Tell me a story."

At the top of the Currituck Lighthouse - it's windy!