I love writing early childhood picture books and middle grade fiction, and I find children of these ages fascinating and fun to talk with.
For me, the hardest part of writing a story is the middle. It may come to me slowly because it often involves something that is most painful for my character – and for me.
I don’t purposely avoid it. But sometimes, I think, my brain and my spirit may simply not be ready for what I need to write.
The draft may read ‘nicely’, but if I tell myself the truth, I know something important is missing. It’s not a finished story. I may let it simmer inside me for awhile, and even work on other pieces in the meantime. But that middle-less story will be with me, murmuring around inside. I keep my brain open – and when I do, unexpectedly the heart will walk right in.
My children’s poems feel so visual to me: I see them as snapshots while I write. I feel my heart quicken when I manage to capture the image with words.
“On Daddy’s Shoulders”, a tiny poem that appears in the January 2015 issue of LADYBUG, is a good example of that. It came from a poignant memory, and I was so happy when the words arranged themselves to capture it!
I was so deeply moved by Leonid Gore’s art for “On Daddy’s Shoulders.” It was such a powerful reminder that those words don’t belong to me, and that’s a good thing. In my mind, the poem came from a speck of memory from in Michiana Shores, Michigan. Now they can belong anywhere there’s a Daddy and a child.
In the case of “Prairie”, one of twelve winners in the Highland Park, IL/Pace Bus 2014 Poetry That Moves competition, graphic artist Dylan Treschl complemented my words with his graphic image.