Thursday, January 14, 2010


I have no children of my own so I don’t have an authentic sense of what it’s like raising them and hoping that one day they will leave home with the best possible shot at living a happy, successful life. I have dogs, but they never grow up. Lincoln, in particular, doesn’t learn any of life’s lessons because, well, he doesn’t seem to learn. (He is awfully amusing, thank goodness.)

I am not the first to compare writing projects to one’s offspring. Yes, it pales to the constant care involved in parenting, but there is that element of creating something and shaping it to be the best it can be. The milestones and personality get tweaked after regular, often difficult, reflection. And then there comes a point of realization that every opportunity imaginable has been offered to this being and the best thing is to set it out in the world.

I have a habit of sitting on “completed” writing. It’s hard to let go. What if I send it out and it meets rejection? What if I can find an extra spark if I hang on just a little longer? Thankfully, despite my clinging, there comes a point when the manuscript is itching to move out. I can feel it and there is no way I can hold it back any longer.

Yes, it’s ready.

Today I shall send two picture book manuscripts out into the world, Eric’s English Lessons and Alastair on Safari. I am proud of the unique personality of each. Eric is a fearful, serious individual who takes everything literally. God help him. Hopefully, he’ll also come across as a sympathetic, even amusing character who makes us think about the way we say things. Alastair, on the other hand, always was a wild child. He’s a reckless, daring adventurer but also a keen observer. Bursting with imagination, life is his for the taking.

I cannot sit back and fret too much about the fate of these “children”. To be sure, I hope to hear good news with respect to both of them. But I have much more to focus on at home as I continue to raise Broderick, Esmeralda, Julie, Sven, Clint, Dennis and the rest of the brood. Although two are gone, it’s still a full house of rambunctious characters, each vying to have his or her story heard. Of that, I’m truly thankful.

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