It's been a while...and I missed it.
I thought about it each night, wondering what I would write if I had not have been immersed in the world of Lungas and Danu the lions, and Riley and Owen, their little cubs. Don't get me wrong, I truly enjoyed the challenge of scripting a children's book, but this blog has gotten a bit under my skin. Time away has taught me that I am much better suited for essay writing, memoir writing and adult fiction writing, than I am for the intricate responsibility of packaging a moral lesson into a box of imaginative adventures.
Several months back, my husband and I made a promise though. We decided we would write a children's book for our brand new niece and nephew. With the days ticking past until Christmas, we knew this was our opportunity to act. And I knew there was no way I could avoid an all-encompassing immersion into the world of our little imaginary creatures; that's why I decided to put my blog on hold.
This was absolutely true, as Lungus, Danu, Riley, and Owen, as well as Finn, the baboon, managed to invade my dreams. I loved every minute of imagining their story, and everything seemed to be going perfectly until I realized the book needed pictures. I'm not sure why that didn't occur to me from the outset--after all, I've read a gazillion children's books throughout the course of my life. Nevertheless, as I stared at the black and white letters filling each edge of a word document, I realized our story about respecting differences, and meeting in the middle, seemed naked without appropriate images. My stomach churned with anxiety; drawing is not my forte--and to say it is not my forte is actually an understatement.
Contemplating my options, I ultimately settled on cutting out images from scrap booking paper. I found traceable lions online, and I made them out of unexpected patterns. I drew the outline of a less-than-identifiable baboon and I added him into the mix. Then I made a tree, I cut out a hill and I found the colors of my sky. Suddenly, I had something to work with. I laid out my images and I snapped photographs. Inserting them into the slots beside the words, my husband and I managed to make something that seemed to finally resemble a children's book.
Through the process, I realized how much creative energy it took to bring our idea to life. I found myself considering images in a way I never considered them before, and I came to appreciate an art form I've never explored. Any time you throw yourself into unfamiliar territory you are bound to grow, and I feel like my endeavor to produce a children's book pushed me in ways I didn't know I could be pushed. It also made me TRULY appreciate the efforts of all children's book writers who penned and drew the books I loved as a child.
Hopefully one day little Owen and little Riley will like their story. Their aunt and uncle sure had a great time making it, and we can't wait to fly across the country, hold them in our arms, and read every last page together.
And though I'm proud of our creation, I'm also pretty darn excited to be back to my world of blogging. Though still a bit unfamiliar, I think it's slightly better suited for my wandering mind.