I’m sure we all get it from somewhere. After all, things like hair color, eye color, and shoe size can be easily traced to someone in our lineage, so why not creative genes too. I’m sure painters had parents who painted, and most musicians come from musically inclined folks. As for writers, well like I said, we get it from somewhere. I have my mother’s eyes and nose, her smile and many of her mannerisms. But the writing, that comes from my dad.
Everyone should be lucky enough to know the man I get to call Dad. He has a heart of gold, with a giving spirit and all the good emotions living right below the surface. Poor guy was out numbered from the day he became a father, surrounded by strong, opinionated women. There were a few years in there that the scales were balanced, but then baby number three was a girl (Holla!) and it happened again. He never complained, at least not to us. Although he did have a big burly dog that kept him company in the backyard each evening.
He’s seen to the highest of high’s and met the lowest of lows. He works tirelessly in an unforgiving and unstable industry, having built a business and a reputation throughout his community that brings with it admiration and respect. He laughs at his own jokes, he loves to ‘piddle’ and his boyish Cajun accent still comes out when his parents call. My dad taught me how to make pancakes, my sister how to perfect her toe-touch and could teach men across the globe a thing or two about being a devoted family man. Many people who know him, know all of these things… most people don’t know, he’s a writer.
I see it in his eyes when I talk about writing. There’s an understanding that comes when I share my lessons and experiences. He loves words, whether he’s reading or writing them like I do. He ‘gets’ the publishing dream. He even rhymes well! That’s where it all starts for me, with my dad. I feel blessed to have been given a share in those genes.
Something I’ve heard him say, regardless of where I am in life is “It’s about making connections.” Those words, coupled with a deep-seated desire to play an active role in the Kid Lit community spawned the birth of Paper People. Starting next week, and following on the second Sunday of each month, I invite you to follow along and learn from newly published authors alongside me. For those of us still on the pre-published side of the fence, those who are published seem like they have it all. There are some wildly successful picture book authors who serve as mentors to many. I’m lucky enough to have learned from a few of them. But I have a sneaking suspicion that newly published authors have a lot to teach as well… if someone would just ask. So, that’s what I started doing, making connections and asking questions. I honed in on debut picture book authors one year after their books release, assuming the honeymoon phase is over and the real work has long since begun. It bodes well for me that I am inquisitive in nature and am a newly discovered extrovert. I’m excited to share with our conversations. I’m also excited to bring back to the surface these incredible books, that have moved over to make room for the new releases.
I’m grateful to my dad for countless lessons that he’s taught me over the years but the example he set when he found the courage to blaze his own trail is one of the biggest. I am always in search of the paths that I’m supposed to take, and on the lookout for places where a new one can be created. Happy Birthday to the man who is my favorite writer and (one of) my biggest fan(s). Thanks, BG, for blazing your own trails.
(I did have a bit of a schedule change) Please join me next week when I share my interview with Emma Bland Smith. Her debut picture book is the award winning, Journey: Based on the True Story of Or7, The Most Famous Wolf in the West. Emma blends facts and fiction seamlessly as she allows her main character, Abby, to have a profound impact on her environment. Journey is one of those rare picture books that easily transcends her target audience and is loved by children of all ages. I’m eager to share our conversation, she had fascinating things to say.
Thanks for reading, come back anytime!