Sunday, June 06, 2010

6/6/2010 The book

This doesn't happen often, but a friend had sent email to a small group suggesting a last-minute informal playdate this weekend. I wasn't sure we'd pull it off, but I called her today and we alllll went over there. She's a single mom with one son, so it was very gracious of her to let us descend!

The kids all needed the change of scenery, though I was frustrated the boys were mostly interested in their host's great selection of electronic and battery-powered toys. Katrina had a great time with sidewalk chalk though.

On the drive home, the kids asked about our sidewalk chalk. "Where is it?" Not wanting to reveal the location of one of my few trump cards, nor have them rummaging around, I said, "In a closet." "Where's the closet?" they asked. I put them off: "In a room."

This led to a conversation much like this, with each successive question making the boys laugh harder and harder.

"Where's the room?"
"In the house."
"Where's the house?"
"On the street."
"Where's the street?"
"In the neighborhood."
"Where's the neighborhood?"
"In the city."
"Where's the city?"
"In the county."
"Where's the county?"
"In the state."
"Where's the state?"
(by now they were nearly incoherent with laughter)
"In the country."
"Where's the country?"
"On the continent."
"Where's the continent?"
"In the hemisphere."
"Where's the hemisphere?"
"On the planet!"
"Where's the planet?"
"In the solar system."
"Where's the solar system?"
(at this point my astronomy fails me)
"In the galaxy."
"Where's the galaxy?"
"In the universe!"
"Where's the universe?"
", space!"
"Where's space?"

As this conversation was progressing it occurred to me that this could be a very cute children's book, properly illustrated. Maybe the initial object being sought is a ball, and in the end, the universe is inside the ball or something.

I can picture the illustrations so well in my head, with a child peering from one location into the vastness of the next. But pictures in my head are forever held prisoner, isolated on a mental island with no bridge to my hand. There simply is no way for the clear, elaborate, distinct images in my head to find their way to paper, my brain just doesn't work that way. (My brain can have wild ideas like collaborating with an illustrator though.)

This sort of story has been written many times, if not this exact one though. I can't imagine how children's book writers can write without kids around though -- this was a natural organic conversation that sprung up out of nowhere, and was spurred on by their laughter.

Well, perhaps I best leave my first children's book to remain in this blog post.


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