How unbelievably arrogant! Oh, the audacity, what kind of egotistical fool would dare claim that they’re going to be the next Dr. Seuss, a true genius and one-of-a-kind storyteller??
Um, well …
It was kind of me.
But before I get beaten up … let me explain.
See, it happened about … oh, fifteen years? sixteen? … let’s just say a very long time ago, about two years after I had decided to be a writer. I was sitting on my mother’s front porch, watching my children play on a jungle gym and thinking about my failed attempts as a mystery writer when it hit me:
Why don’t I write picture books???
I mean, my kids were young. I read picture books to them all the time and they seemed so easy to write.
Just think … I could be the next Dr. Seuss!
With this joyous new direction in life, I grabbed a notepad and spent the next few months happily scribbling one story after another. Stuff like Pop Pop in Flip-Flops, The Magical Train Ride, A Fly on the Wall, and then there was my entire Bobby the Bass series. (Bobby goes to school, Bobby gets a baby sister, Bobby and the Bully.) I even made a dummy for my favorite story, Four Flower Friends, and sent it to any publisher that accepted unsolicited manuscripts.
After acquiring a couple of years worth of rejection letters for FFF and many others, however, I came to realize some things:
- There is only one Dr. Seuss and
- if there’s gonna be the “next Dr. Seuss,” it certainly ain’t gonna be me because
- my picture books suck and
- they’re absolutely, positively NOT easy to write, oh my gosh, so, SO not easy to write!
At the time, though, I was okay with this revelation. I had found new love with the young adult genre after reading the incredibly brilliant HOPE WAS HERE, by Joan Bauer. I was fine with shoving those picture books in a drawer because que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, my future as a PB wasn’t meant to be.
There have been many times in the past ten years when the notion would peck at the back of my head like someone’s wayward selfie stick. I mean, I love picture books! Picture books are funny and cute and colorful! And oh my goodness, how fun would it be doing a presentation for young kids??? Especially if I wrote something with a main character who wears pink and tiaras and feathery boas because I LOVE pink and tiaras and feathery boas!
So yeah. Maybe I haven’t quite given up on my picture book dreams.
And there’s a part of me who misses the writer I used to be before being published, when I would sit on my mother’s porch writing story after story while my children played. When writing was fun. With all of these jumbles in mind, I actually did it–I wrote a picture book for the first time in twelve-some years.
You know what? It felt really, really good.
And it doesn’t entirely suck although it does need a ton, ton, TON of rewriting!
And yes, there are tiaras involved.