A story is great but learning how to create a story can be even better and the process doesn't have to be so darn serious! During my recent school visits, the kids picked words from a box and we made up nonsense scenarios. I drew jumping googly eyes, angry refrigerators that don't like to be cold, donuts that shoot sprinkles and super-small mini donuts and a roll of toilet paper saving hamster poop by wiping it! We added speech bubbles to the story line as well and were completely engaged in creating something new, grabbing and stretching our story out of thin air. The children could feel and see it all coming to life in their minds and then before their eyes. As I scribbled words and pictures onto the white board, it illustrated perfectly the work of making something out of nothing.
The sense of wonder that the children have and their ability to step out of reality and immerse themselves, rather non-judgmentally, in a whole new world is amazing. They were shooting out new ideas quicker than I could draw. The children were witnessing that the story could go anywhere and that in the end it would be a matter of choice.
One boy suggested I write a story about a stuffed wolf and a hamper. The possibilities are endless!
I sure hope that I have a few more good book ideas in me. Well, at least, they will have to be good in my eyes and my editor's, of course! It is not easy to create something that everyone loves. Dang it! Folks can be harsh! I have never been able to find that perfect balance, even in life. There are people who like me for who I am and those who dislike me for those very same traits. So write and illustrate on my friends, be brave and be who you are. I would love to give you a "write the perfect picture book magic potion" to sprinkle upon your pillow but remember every wolf in the hamper has her day!