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Monday, June 13, 2005

The World Is My Toybox . . .

. . . I shall not want.

I try not to get frustrated with my son when he'd rather play with a toilet paper roll or a doorstop than the fun and exciting toys that our house is riddled with. He is a baby, after all, and the whole world is a thrilling and wondrous place filled with all these marvelous objects that need to be explored.

I guess it's only when we "grow up" that we lose our fascination with simple yet wonderful things that used to keep our attention riveted, and instead spend mindless hours in front of the television watching "reality TV" programming filled with idiots whom, were we to meet them personally, we wouldn't have anything to do with.

Perhaps I can learn from him -- ie, learn the simple yet immesurable beauty of playing with the tag on a blanket, pillow or stuffed animal -- rather than focus on whether or not he can decipher the star, triangle, square and circle shapes enough to put them all in the container through the specially shaped holes.

I certainly know that my creative life has taken a boost from watching him. That and reading some stuff my buddy Peter wrote. The other night while putting Alexander to sleep I wondered about the story I had begun to write when he was first born featuring the adventures of a prince named Alexander and his pal, Mister Bunny. I thought it would be cute to include him and our pet rabbit in a series of fun adventures I could tell him at bed-time. It reminded me of the children's story I'd started a couple of years ago for my Godchild, Madison, but which I hadn't been able to finish - I had a good beginning and a good ending, but was having trouble with all the middle bits. Don't let ANYONE tell you that writing children's literature is easy. I'd rather write a 75,000 word novel than the text for a 500 word children's picture book any day. Sitting there, watching Alexander drift off to sleep, I started thinking about the story I'd started for Maddie. I didn't force anything, just let the beginning of the story drift through my mind and see if the characters would help me flesh out the details . . .

. . . it never went anywhere immediately, of course, (maybe because Alexander was asleep within 10 minutes so I could put him down and move on to do whatever mundane task I was supposed to be doing as an "adult" -- likely plop my butt down in front of the "idiot box"), but as often happens, I think that my subconscious mind kept following the tale and trying out different situations for the characters. The other day I had the pleasure of reading a section of kid's verse that Peter Mitchell was working on. Like Peter's previous kid's verse story, this one was brilliant - it was a fun and exciting fantasy tale which inspired me to think like a child, but also re-synced my sub and conscious minds (hello, hello - nice to see you again)

I immediately started hammering out the middle scenes of the "Maddie" story that had been plaguing me all this time, and pretty much completed the first draft of the story. I'm now well on my way to finally finishing the story for Madison. And I have both Alexander and Peter to thank for this.

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