Monthly Archives: September 2013

I’m Writing!

Ok, so remember that time I said ‘Hey I’m gonna do a bunch of posts about authors I love!’? Well I totally planned on writing about Stephen King today and how he’s awesome. Buuuut I’ve been working all week. I’ve been hanging out with two awesome (although exhausting) boys during the day and writing a comic script during their nap times/school times. I’ve got a stack of comics staring at me, begging me to read them. And lastly even though I started strong writing my comic script I’m starting to loose steam and feel the need to focus creatively on that.

That’s a long way to say I’m going to not work on my blog post right now. I’m going to read some comics instead. Maybe you should too! Yay comics!

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Walk Down Memory Lane

Yesterday as I walked to my friend’s house to play Dungeons & Dragons I started having these little flashbacks. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining but it wasn’t hot. The crisp feel of fall was moving in and the air was so fragrant. I was feeling a bit contemplative already so as I inhaled the scents around me I started to lose myself in a million memories.

An adorable home tucked back from the road surrounded by fragrant flowers and a large pine tree reminded me of my grandparent’s old home in Newberg. I thought of riding bikes with my sister in the church parking lot, walking to the playground close by, gutting fish in the garage with grandpa and dad.

A chimney belching wood smoke reminded me of countless camping trips. Some from recent years and some from years ago. I could actually hear the quiet calm of the forest after all the campers have gone to sleep.

The smell of green grass on a soccer field, the air cooling and the distant, echoing sound of clapping after a goal is scored reminded me of watching my sister’s soccer practices at Demuth Park.

As I approached my friend’s home I thought of all the new memories I make every day. Each day provides an opportunity to build something new with Jack. I wonder what smells will trigger his memories and I can only hope that they are mostly good ones.

My Inspirations: Eric Carle

Book The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Jack has a bedtime routine that includes two stories before bed. I always let him select the books and I always smile when he chooses The Very Hungry Caterpillar. As a child I loved Eric Carle books. As an adult I’ve come appreciate them even more. Not because of the underlying messages in the stories but because of the lack of them. Sometimes the perfect story is one that is simple and straight forward. And that’s what Eric Carle’s books have been for me; wonderful stories about the beautiful world around us.

moon

There’s nothing wrong with stories that have a deeper meaning. But every now and then it’s nice to read a story and appreciate the art without dissecting the thing. That’s not to say that these stories are mindless creations with no message. Most are very educational in a basic way. The Very Hungry Caterpillar talks about the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly, Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me is about how the moon changes over time and Rooster’s Off to See the World starts kids on their counting skills. And then there’s The Mixed Up Chameleon which is very obviously about how great it is to be yourself.

Cham

There’s so much to appreciate in these stories. The art showcases the wonder and beauty of the natural world. The writing is simple and quick (perfect for bedtime!) but still manages to be mysterious or funny or informative. What’s wonderful is there’s so many Eric Carle stories to enjoy. I’m still discovering stories I didn’t know existed and even now that I’m an adult I get excited about reading them. That’s the wonderful thing about Eric Carle’s stories, they are timeless.

My Inspirations: Shel Silverstein

Where_the_Sidewalk_Ends

It’s safe to say that Shel Silverstein was my first experience with poetry. Which may be why I’ve always though poetry was interesting and complex. I had a tape of Where the Sidewalk Ends and I listened to it all the time. I would listen to it as a I fell asleep letting the weird, funny voice of Mr. Silverstein echo in my brain. Enter this Deserted House always freaked me out, but in a good way. Even the title is ridiculously creepy, I got chills just writing it. The way he read his poetry was haunting but funny and I’ll never be able to get his voice out of my head.

What I love about Shel Silverstein’s writing is the way it’s so true to life. So many of his poems are absurd. They make very little sense but are so ridiculous it’s funny. I purchased A Light in the Attic to read to Jack and there have been several occasions where I’ve laughed out loud as I’m reading.

Giving tree

At the same time I think about The Giving Tree and how it left me sobbing on more than one occasion. His poems and stories have the power to make you think and make you laugh which is very rare in a lot of children’s literature today.

I think what’s lacking most in children’s books today is a sense of imagination. Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein made stuff up all the time. I’m sure it has inspired many people to think outside the box and come up with something amazing themselves.

Shel Silverstein’s poems and stories got my brain working on a deeper level than say The Bernstein Bears (which I also loved it just didn’t inspire me the way Mr. Silverstein did). The Bernstein Bears were about every day real world stuff. But Mr. Sliverstein lived somewhere in the absurd imagination. Listening to and reading his writing is what started my mind down the path of writing. I wanted to write things that made people laugh and think at the same time. Shel Silverstein’s work was probably one of the first things to make me think I really could.