Come With Me To Inclement….And Pack A Bag!

Today, I’m taking Inclement on the road.  Not in a big way, but still, I’m going to be out there talking to kids about my town, reading a book to them, and doing a couple illustrations.

eas_4716 copy

This isn’t one of our Creative Collaborations that I do with BETWIXT–gosh, I REALLY have to do a blog post on those guys.

bttruck

No, this is just a simple half hour at a Family Fun Night at a school nearby.  But although I will be there just half-an-hour, it is an important night.  You see, not only is Inclement just about my favorite place in the world to spend my time, and a place that provides so many ideas I don’t have time to write about them, it is also business for me.  And an important rule in business is that you have to get the word out that you ARE in business.  You have to let people KNOW what you do.  In half an hour, over the course of maybe two books, I hope to say something or do something or read something that sticks in those parents’ and childrens’ and teachers’ minds.  Perhaps they will buy some books.  Perhaps they will hire BETWIXT and me to do a Creative Collaboration at the school.  Perhaps a Mom or a Dad somewhere will sit down and draw something with their child instead of telling them to go play video games.  Whatever happens, whatever the outcome of half an hour, it can’t be bad.

Half an hour is a very short time.  In the scheme of the universe, it is like a baby-biscuit nano-second.  But the process for preparing for that half an hour is huge.

Here is my list today:

1. Pack computer equipment.  When I read to large groups, I do so with a laptop and a digital projector.  Makes it MUCH easier for everyone to see the illustrations in the books.

2. Pack the cords for computer equipment.  This is a biggie.  If I forget the cords, what is the point of having the computer?

3. Pack my illustration supplies–easel, BIG PAPER (sheets of 3 feet x 4 feet), chalk pastels.

4. Trim 150 bookmarks to hand out.  I printed them yesterday, and today, I have to trim them.  I hate trimming.  Oh, and I have to pack these, so I don’t forget them.

5. Money.  I have to get change and pack the cash box.  People may want to purchase books.  Can’t forget this.

Wonder how it will work for MY fiscal crisis...

Wonder how it will work for MY fiscal crisis…

6.  BOOKS.  I can’t forget books.  This is probably the biggest pain as far as packing goes.  I have 7 book titles now, and I’m going to take some of each.  Which leads to 7 different boxes of books, and I never know how many to take of each, so I always bring more than I need….

7. I forgot this in the first part of the list–check to make sure all the book presentations WORK on my computer BEFORE I pack it up.  If the book doesn’t run on the computer, there is NO POINT in bringing the computer.

8. Babywipes.  No, I don’t have a baby.  But, they are very handy in cleaning my hands after I use chalk pastels for 10 minutes or so.

9. Water.  I always get thirsty.

10. Carry everything out to the truck.  This is where my 14 year old son comes in, AND his father, after he gets home from work.

11. Get ready myself.  See, I have to tell myself to do this, because I get out of the house so infrequently.  I planned my wardrobe last night, fortunately.

12.  Oh, another thing I forgot–my camera.  I have to pack the camera so I can get pictures of me doing what I do, so I can BLOG about it tomorrow to whomever might be reading this.

13.  Eat.  When I get busy like this, I forget to eat.  Then I get really hungry during my presentation, and sometimes I feel like I’m going to “lose my cookies”, and that isn’t fun when I’m reading to families.  So, I must eat before I leave.

Tastes just like chicken...

Tastes just like chicken…

I think that is it.  Lucky 13.  All of this, to get Inclement out there, in front of families, to hopefully enchant them a little bit, to make people see what I see when I visit that little place in Southwest Iowa, from which all magic and wonder flows–at least for me.

tunnel

So, tomorrow, I may have a tale to tell about my brief half hour.  Perhaps I’ll have a booking for a Creative Collaboration for next fall.  Perhaps I’ll have a new idea for a book.  I will definitely be working on Soda’s Valentine.  Finishing layout, so I can turn the file into a pdf and upload it!  Yay, getting closer.  But for today, my focus has to be on this half hour that occurs around suppertime tonight.  Think happy thoughts for me!  And pray I don’t forget anything.

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative. This BLOG is about her creative journey into all her creative endeavors, including writing for children and adults, art and illustration, photography and photo-illustration, and book-building from beginning to end.  There may be other “sidetrips” that can’t be predicted–so hop in and enjoy the ride!  You may learn more about Tracy here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.

A NEW BIG Project….

I’ve been away from official blogging for a few months now. What can I say…life happened. Some of the changes are good, but one, at least, was quite sad for me. My 95 year old Grandmother passed right before Christmas.

So, that changed a few things for me, and made me rethink priorities. I’ve now got the weighty responsibility of archiving all of her photographs—there must be at least 500–and transferring them to digital format. Some of them are as old, or older than she was, so they are very precious to my family. I am amazed at how much looking at all this ancient history makes me simultaneously miss her, and also makes me feel close to her. I am lucky.

In addition, I’ve renewed my connection with BETWIXT, and we are hard at work on what we envision will be an animated pilot for a children’s television show based upon Inclement. The first episode is a retelling of Sylvia McBye Learns To Fly, with some added characters.  It has been written, and we’ve done basic recording for scoring purposes.  Now we are searching for the right animator to bring it to life.  In addition, I’m storyboarding the script.  So, lots of work ahead.

 

And I’ve started serious work again on my next novel, The Western Radio Hub, which is the sequel to Buck’s Rodeo.

Lots of exciting things happening there, and currently, our heroes are caught in a mysterious fog settling upon some version of the Loess Hills and an unknown person in pursuit behind them.  How I get them out is brewing in my head for tonight’s writing.

Finally, I have a BIG project I’m working on, one which I wish to share with anyone who may be interested.  Soda Pop has a new book!

And I am going to journal about the making of this book, from the beginning ideas clear through the publication process.  I’m hoping it will encourage others to follow their own creativity wherever it may lead them.  However, during this process of documenting the making of a book, there will be other “side trips” of creativity.  I am also a professional photographer, running my own portrait studio.  I am also a Mom, running my own family.  Writing and illustrating is just a part of what I do.  So, my BIG PROJECT is more than documenting my journey with Soda’s Valentine.  It is also about the entire process of my life, and how the process is messy.  Seemingly disconnected things all come together to form projects in ways that cannot be predicted.  That is how creativity works.  Randomness of experience, of talent, and complete chance all mesh together at exactly the right time in exactly the right way to form….well, hopefully….magic.

Some of the “magic” I was able to capture this morning, on what I call my Super-Fog-Walk….just a random impulse to walk in the fog with my camera.

So, join me.  If you are a teacher, please feel free to follow my progress as I work to bring Inclement into our “real” world, whatever that may be.  I may post excerpts from my novel one day, photos another, and then illustrations after that.  I may post creative ideas I did with my kids, or coloring pages, or game ideas, or how-to articles.  Follow along and spread the word.  Creativity is like that—like the revelation Dorothy Gale had at the end of the Wizard of Oz–all she was ever looking for was right there, in her own backyard.  Creativity is there, right there, in our own backyards.

Tracy Lovett is an artist, author, illustrator, photographer, wife, mom, and all around creative gal trying to spread the message that creativity is one of our most important qualities.  She uses her books, photographs, and writings to encourage others to just take the chance and be creative.  You may learn more about her here.  You may follow her on Facebook here.

Food and Conversation: One At A Time, Please!

I love restaurants that appeal to my imagination.  Then I can sit and gawk during my meal instead of trying to make conversation, which, I must admit isn’t an ideal activity for eating great food.  No one wants to see my food once it enters my mouth, and I don’t want to see anyone else’s either.  So, we need to come up with a pact: save the words for after the meal.  Eat.  Relish.  Enjoy.  Don’t speak.  Just worry about poking the food in and use your eyes and ears and nose to soak up the ambience.  Food and words most times don’t go together.  And stop on by Poe’s Pizza Pies…your head will spend delightedly and you will waddle when you leave.

 

Tracy Lovett is a wife, mother, author/illustrator and photographer living in Southwest Iowa. She has written and illustrated 6 children’s books in the past 3 years, the last being a novel for ages 12 and up called Buck’s Rodeo, which is available in dead tree format as well as a Kindle book. She is working hard to get the picture books on the Kindle as well.   You may find her books on Amazon, and by clicking here.  You may follow her on Facebook and on Twitter, and even dig her up on Pinterest.

Quotes From Buck’s—Ch. 17: The Magical Mud Trudge

Sometimes the most important things we sense aren’t detected with our ears, our eyes, our fingertips,  but rather they are like a double handful of glimmering water dipped from a fast-moving stream beneath reality–a cool pool of truth winking in our palms, that we see and taste for only a moment before it runs away between our dripping fingers.  And when it is all gone, we are left wondering if we ever really felt it at all.

Buck’s Rodeo…

Tracy Lovett is a wife, mother, author/illustrator and photographer living in Southwest Iowa. She has written and illustrated 6 children’s books in the past 3 years, the last being a novel for ages 12 and up called Buck’s Rodeo, which is available in dead tree format as well as a Kindle book. She is working hard to get the picture books on the Kindle as well.   You may find her books on Amazon, and by clicking here.  You may follow her on Facebook and on Twitter, and even dig her up on Pinterest.

Frogs, Chocolate, American Flags, And Dancing Bears–A Few Of My Favorite Things

So the book is for sale in the Amazon Kindle store now. Buck’s Rodeo. Some folks are really impressed by that. There is a part of ME that’s impressed by that. But I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: it isn’t that impressive. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am impressed that I was able to focus my attention on a single story for over a year, write it, edit it, and get it out there. But the actual publication part? No. THAT was the EASIEST part of all.

The writing part was much more difficult. Setting up a pattern of writing a thousand words a day, and sticking to it is much more difficult than P90X, trust me. I’ve done ‘em both. And for a while, I had the abs to prove it. Alas, my love for cheesecake and chocolate has torn them down.

How do I love thee? I can't count the ways....there are too many.

 

 

But getting up at Oh:dark:30 to bumble my way through a workout that will make me one sexy thang isn’t nearly as hard as hanging out in my bed by the cold glow of my laptop screen at midnight on a school night (no, I’m not in school, my kids are in school, which puts me on THEIR lovely schedule) where I bumble through a world that some days seems as clear as crystal to me, and other days seems to hide deep in the fog of my apparently non-functioning imagination. So, writing was the HARD part.

Publishing is easy.

Folks don’t realize it, but these days, ANYONE can publish a book. All you have to do is write it, find a printer or a print-on-demand service (I used CreateSpace for Buck’s Rodeo, and the children’s books have all been outsourced to a printer in New Jersey–Endeavor Printing), purchase an ISBN, and put the thing up for sale on Amazon. Boom. It’s THAT simple. You can do this. Anyone can do this. All those New York publishers are trembling as we speak. Apparently, book advances for authors are dwindling big time (so I’ve heard). There is this huge paradigm shift going on in publishing, one that portends so many different things, depending upon which expert you read. The world could be ending in 2012. Frogs could rain down from the heavens, swatting at all of us with their sticky pink tongues. Dancing bears are conspiring against us, preparing to take over the federal government.

Wow, they look like they're having FUN.

 

Or maybe, just maybe, art is becoming democratized. Perhaps, this is the model we’ve needed all along! People are creating and other people are consuming that creation, voting with their dollars and/or their screen views what is worth their time to read, to listen to, to look at, to experience. No longer is a middleman (publisher) necessary to get your work to the world. How cool is that!

How American is THAT?!

 

Or, maybe, I’m just a crazy-little-bedbug artist who wants to think all that. I dunno.

But I do know THIS. I love to write. I love to draw pictures. I love to illustrate. I love to photograph. I love to create. I believe that is the natural state for most of humanity. We are naturally creators of something, of everything. All that you see around you, from the paint colors on the wall to the rugs on the floor and the software in which I compose this piece was created by someone, or by several someones. All the goodwill, all the negativity, all the technologies and the ideas, all the beauty and the ugliness, someone (or several someones in concert) created with their own little thoughts and attitudes. Now, with technology, with the magical land of the internet, all of that can be for consumption. Sometimes, it’s for paid consumption, other times it’s all a freebie, but it doesn’t matter. Used to be, before telephones and radios, my reach was only as far as my voice could carry. I could only sell my books, my art, my ideas to whomever I could reach out and touch in real life. Now, I can sell to the entire world. I still need to reach out with my voice. I still need to touch people with my ideas. But that is the social media game, a game that I’m still learning the ins and outs of, that I play clumsily many times, that scares the crap out of me most times. But whatever the outcome of my book, it is all about ME, and how well I wrote it, and how well I promote it. No publisher is helping me here. I’m helping myself. It will probably take a long time. I will need to write more and more books–a one string banjo just doesn’t cut it in the orchestra of internet marketing madness. But that’s okay. Every one I write, I do better. It’s all skill building.

Working on the sequel now....wow...I AM a crazy-bedbug-artist....

 

 

You know, I said my kids go to school, and it’s true, they do. 2 of them go to public school, and two of them are homeschooled by yours-truly. They are doing their school time right now. They’re smart boys, both of them, blazing through curriculum quickly, and they’re very self-motivated. So, I’m having them write their own books. We’re going to start publishing them on a blog. They’re going to learn how to promote themselves and their ideas, whether they become authors or not. In fact, the skill of persevering through the tedium of writing a book, going through the publishing process, and actually seeing a copy in your hands is powerful. One of them loves to do comics. The other illustrates poems. We’re starting there. My oldest child is finishing up her last couple years at public school and loves to write. With my encouragement, she is going to attempt to write a book this summer, and publish it to Amazon as a Kindle book. What better way to get feedback about your work than to just GET IT OUT THERE. My youngest is almost 8, and she is already writing and illustrating 6 and 7 page stories.

Her latest story....I wonder how it ends...

She’s thrilled that I’ve given her the go-ahead to start blogging this summer (please, God, let THAT occupy her, pleasepleaseplease!) There are no publishers to stand in your way, to tell you you’re no good. You just jump in the pool. You learn to swim.

God, I love summer.

 

You get better and better. Slowly, you develop a following.

Anyone can do this. It is possible, for anyone and everyone. Get busy, folks. Live your life like art, and find a way to get it out there. Whatever it is you do, there is a forum out there for you now. The internet has a power.

Thunder outside. Frog legs, anyone?….

Ribbit.

How My Farmtown Addiction Turned Into Friends And New Novel….

The trees were beautiful. I mean, they just took my breath away. Fruit dangled from every branch, swaying in the warm summer breeze, cows and pigs meandered in the shadows, and in the fields, workers picked corn and sunflowers with deceptive ease. Oh, it was so satisfying to see my time, my precious time grow into THIS. This was……

Okay, goofballs. This was FARMTOWN.

My Secret Addiction.....

One of the largest wastes of time on the face of the earth. And yes, a few years ago (fall/winter of 2009) I got hooked on it. Stupid-stupid-stupid. Yes it was. Yes I was. And for a while, for a few months while the snows piled up and no one went ANYWHERE, I played it with a fervor. I could have written a new book or four. I could have cleaned my house or spent time with my family. But no. Instead, I planted pretend crops in a pretend field and hired pretend workers and arranged pretend windmills and barns and Christmas decorations in a pretend world. And wow. I thought I was satisfied.

This was just 6 weeks ago. The snow in '09 was MUCH deeper.....

Eventually, that winter was over. Eventually, the snow melted (although it seemed to take its own sweet time, I do remember THAT). And I was left with 5 or 6 months of my life that I’ll never get back. It was an addiction, of sorts. When I quit, I found myself jonesing for it, getting antsy, unable to be creative, kind of frozen for a while. My mind wanted to be there, under my carefully tended trees. A couple times, I allowed myself to just go there. You know, not plant anything, not shop, not do anything but stand under the trees. And then I realized, hey, this is crazy. There are freaking trees OUTSIDE MY HOUSE. So, I went outside and stood under the real trees and breathed real air.

Look, Ma! REAL TREES!

Those games are powerful stuff, I think. My family thought it was cute. For a while. They were mildly annoyed when I would worry more about the food growing in my fields than the food we put on the table at night. But, a few of them played as well, so we would hire each other to work and not worry about eating. Sounds like meth, doesn’t it? At least the “not eating” part. Public Service Announcement: Don’t Do Meth. OR Farmtown.

So, when it was all over, when spring came for REAL here in Iowa, and I was able to shake the magic, addictive spell of Farmtown from my synapses, I realized how stupid, and how wasteful those games are. I stay away from them now, all of them. But, I got something very valuable from my experience, something I thought I would never have. I got a FIRST READER.

I met this person in a chat room on Farmtown. A chat room masquerading as a pub or a bar or a saloon, I dunno, where your avatar stands around with other avatars and everyone talks in little thought bubbles which is okay for a while. Folks hire each other to work, or (and I will put this politely) search for romantic partners. (We all know that’s not REALLY what they’re doing, but hey, I’m a kid’s author.) It turns out, this person and I share the same sense of humor. We share much the same tastes in reading. It turns out, we became friends in a REAL way, and not just in a Farmtown way, or a Facebook way. This person has fixed my computer for me, even though I had to ship it two states away. This person and I communicate daily. And this person read Buck’s Rodeo entire, as I was writing it.
THAT is powerful stuff.

This is my FIRST READER'S late dog, Bandit.....no pix of FIRST READER...I agreed to protect the guilty.

If I hadn’t had input from this person, I doubt I would ever have finished Buck’s Rodeo. (I don’t know if I would have even STARTED it.) I would have gotten lost in the maze of imagination and ideas and just never tied everything together to the point where I could say DONE! I wrote for a year, solidly, and in a way, Buck’s Rodeo was my addiction AFTER Farmtown was my addiction. I tried to do a thousand words a night. Sometimes it was easy-peasy. Sometimes it was extremely hard. Sometimes, I didn’t do it. Sometimes, I would get down on myself for not having the right ideas. Sometimes I would want to chuck it in. Sometimes, I couldn’t see where I was going—my imagination was like a dark room, and the match that I was holding was guttering, guttering, burning my fingers and I was NEVER going to find the doorknob that led into the light. And when that would happen, this person would prop me up, and tell me to just keep swimming. And I did. And one day, I actually FINISHED the book. What a strange feeling. To finish something you have been addicted to. A kind of exhilerated, empty feeling. And through it all, my FIRST READER held my hand long distance.

Why isn’t my husband my FIRST READER, you may ask. And I will tell you, that is it because he and I share the same big things—values, morals, family goals, etc. But we don’t share the same sense of what’s entertaining or engrossing. He isn’t a reader of the kind of book that Buck’s Rodeo is. I love him, but it just isn’t his cup of tea.

This is my husband--cut himself shaving.

 

And for a first novel, which is extremely scary, I needed a FIRST READER who was at least on the same literary planet. And I got it. And then, my FIRST READER shared BUCK’S RODEO with a young relative, a niece, that was just the perfect age. I needed to try it out on a kid, to see if a kid would actually like it, you know. And for whatever reason, this niece thought it was a home run! So, she is a FIRST READER too! (Thank you, darlin’ Miss M!) And then, there was a high school friend of mine that I emailed it to….another FIRST READER. My daughter read it…..a few others, and you KNOW who you are.

I need to thank them all, to start a wave of gratitude to those people. If they hadn’t been there, I am positive I would never have finished the thing. Positive. So, thank you, people, for giving me the courage to access this story. You all are facilitators to my process. I hope to be sharing things with you again, soon.

Tonight, I will chat with my first FIRST READER. We will talk about the world and our lives and our families. I am waiting on my copies of Buck’s Rodeo so I can send a couple books two states away to those people who read it FIRST.

And it is all because of a Farmtown addiction: Buck’s Rodeo. My FIRST READERS. All of it.

Oh, and here’s a cool tidbit, to close it all down. My first-FIRST READER? The one I met in a “bar” on Farmtown, who lives two states away, and has fixed my computer? We have chatted online (not on Farmtown!) nearly daily and we have spoken on the phone a few times. But we have never met each other, face to face. Huh. I still marvel at that.

Ain’t technology wonderful?

If you would like to purchase a copy of Buck’s Rodeo, click here. Tracy has a free download of two of her children’s books as well, and a FREE download of the first chapter of Buck’s. Give it a try!

Wired For Wonder

So, people ask me “What’s the new book about?” and they’re talking about Buck’s Rodeo. Well, this is a toughie for me. All my other books were 36 pages long–at the most. They were filled with pictures and fun, rhyming text (most of them) and I could encapsulate the story in like, 20 seconds. But they were sure pretty to look at. So, when someone asks me the same thing about Buck’s, I have to consider deeply how much time I have to answer. It’s some 458 pages long, and I could talk for an hour. Most people don’t want to listen for an hour. They want a sound byte or two so they can decide if they want to buy the thing or not, and that’s it. Last night, I spent considerable time thinking about what my sound bytes are. And I DON’T want to memorize the back cover of the book and regurgitate it upon demand. Uck.

This is what happened when I tried to make her memorize the text on the back of the book.

 

So, I thought about ALL my books, including the novel. Is there a theme in all of them? And, it turns out, that as diverse as all the stories are and as LONG as the last one is, there IS a theme running through the whole dealio. (Sorry. Watched Napoleon Dynamite yesterday, and Uncle Rico says that. I love Uncle Rico.) So, here it comes. My sound byte. And I got it down to ONE WORD: Wonder.

I love wonder.....

That’s it. Wonder. You know, that amazing feeling you have nearly all the time when you are below 12 years of age? The world is big, the world is unknown, the world is magical, and you don’t have the experience yet to be sarcastic and crappy about life because, for the most part, life is pretty good. Life is about chocolate and chasing lightning bugs and cooking hotdogs over the fire and swimming in a crystal blue lake with your friends. Now, I know that this isn’t true for everyone. There are some really crappy deals out there for children. Child poverty is higher than it has ever been. Schools are oftentimes subpar. Parents are crazy/drunk/high/violent. There’s cancer. You can’t even quantify how awful that is. To quote the visuals in that Van Halen video: “Right now, God is killing Moms and dogs….because he has to.” Kids listen to the news, and listen to all sorts of discussions from the adults around them about politics and gas prices and people killing other people and they get the feeling that the world is not safe (which it ain’t. As the master, Stephen King said, “You can’t be safe on a skateboard…”) Then there’s that whole KONY 2012 thing, (and not only is that horrible, but I think the guy who set the whole thing up has lost his happy thoughts as well. Oh well. Another blog.) The world can be a HORRIBLE place for the little things, and that includes the little folks.

But, I don’t think that’s our natural state. I don’t think that’s how our brains are supposed to be wired. I think we are wired for Wonder. I think we want to look at the world through virgin eyes, just marvelling at the way the stars spread across the sky, at the sunset on the water, at the ladybugs on the flowers. I think there is a part of our hearts or our spirits or whatever, if we are a bit lucky, and if we have managed to hold onto it tightly enough, protecting it from the world, that will ALWAYS be 12 or 10 or 8 or 5.

EVERYTHING is magic when you're a kid.....

See, I go into schools and talk about my books to all ages of people, from the little kids struggling to make it to the bathroom before they have an accident to the teachers that have been there so long they are doing the same thing–trying to make it to the bathroom. We read my books–I blow up the illustrations on the big screen, and wow, it is WONDERFUL.

Bug Summer--Raining Ladybugs

I see it on their faces. I do art for them, on my Wacom pad, and on this huge paper with pastels.

Yes, that's me, with my back to the camera....

Again, wonder. We do hands-on art projects, where they get in on all the creativity, while they listen to some great tunes by the folk/rock band, BETWIXT(blog post coming about them).

My Boys, TJ and Jared---AKA BETWIXT

Wonder everywhere. But here’s the dealio: you can just see the kids that don’t feel comfortable with themselves. Maybe they’re wearing shabby clothes. Maybe their hair isn’t combed, or maybe (and this is somehow the most disturbing) they have a look to their eyes that says I have seen too much. I’m not supposed to see this much, I’m just a kid, but the grownups around me just don’t get it. I have seen too much. I see them, and it kills me a little bit. I want to help each of them. I want to roll back time and place them in a better situation. But, I can’t. I’m one person. The only thing I can do is try to make them forget about all the adult-created crap and give them their sense of WONDER back for a few minutes. It doesn’t matter how rich or how poor you are, where you live, the clothes you wear. If you can live each day as if it were really NEW, as if there is always something to be interested in….that is being rich.

And the cool thing is, usually, with the kids that are having a tough time, well, it doesn’t take that much to give them that wonder. A smile. Some encouragement. Their wiring for wonder may be buried a bit, but it is still intact.

They draw me pictures for me to take home. Sometimes they mail them to me. I know I’m not changing their situation. Except, maybe, for a little while, I am. Maybe, if they can read a story, if they can look at some art, if they can grasp a crayon in their fist and make magical marks on paper, maybe it gives them wonder, for just a bit. Maybe they can get lost in their own imagination for a while instead of drowning in the ocean of issues they didn’t ask for. And that is all I can do. It’s small magic, and in many ways, it is inconsequential, especially for adult problems foisted into children’s lives. But, as individuals, small magic is all that we have to give, most of the time.

This makes me EXTREMELY HAPPY....

But imagine, if all of us adults retained our sense of wonder, and encouraged it in the children with whom we are entrusted. If we all did that, one little instance at a time….incremental change, baby. My mind reels with wonder at what might actually happen then.

So, that’s it. Wonder.

In Buck’s Rodeo, there are four 12 year old middle class boys with issues that a lot of kids have–one of them has lost his dad. Another lives with a grandparent. Another has a divorced mom who is remarrying. The fourth has those crazy “helicopter” parents. They all live in Inclement, Iowa. They are friends, and they hang out in the lake in the summertime. They camp around a fire on the beach. There is an unexplained light in the woods, Grampa tells them a story about what that light is. They have adventures. There is danger and love and sneaking out the window after dark, and there is loss and death and friendship and hope. There is magic, of a sort. And there is Wonder.

Oh. And there is a beagle named Flash.

Flash splashin' in the mud....from Bug Summer--Raining Ladybugs....