I still have no idea why I decided to write a children’s book. Actually, I have some vague recollection of thinking that I would “take it easy” for this story. Back in January what this meant to me was that I would write a children’s book. So simple. How hard could it be? You rhyme mouse with house, draw some pictures, and you’re done.
Plus, I work with kids, large parts of me are still beguilingly childish, I like talking animals, it seemed a perfect way to coast through a story and catch a break after the halfway mark of the project.
A number of people who are far smarter than I am have hypothesized, after reading “Mindy and Barkley,” that I probably have a new found respect for Dr. Seuss and his ilk now because these things, duh, aren’t easy.
To put it simply, yes. Yes I do. Ridiculous amounts of new found respect for Watterson and Seuss and everyone whose books and rhymes entertained me growing up. Rhyming is hard. And while I enjoy doodling, and while the pictures I made still make me laugh with their in your face crapulence, making a picture that carries the story and maybe even adds to it is also, as it turns out, really hard.
During these two weeks I didn’t exactly get a chance to “take it easy.” I did get a chance, though, to create one of my favorite stories and to cut loose from whatever rules happened to be with me at the time and completely go nuts. Imaginary friends, blobs, poop jokes, etc. You name it. It’s all there. Plus, come on, who didn’t bawl their eyes out when Barkley came back? Huh? Show of hands?
On top of all this there was the notion that for the first time ever I was writing something fully intended to be read aloud. I’ve never done that before. It made meter king in a way I haven’t ever experienced. It also allowed me to mess with anyone who dared to take that step and read this to a child. Because when you read aloud you get into a rhythm, you start to feel the words, you develop a running flow, and I went ahead and intentionally threw a gigantic hurdle in there of unjumpable proportions when it came time to give my blob a name. Because I was floundering like crazy during those two weeks, it seemed to me that anyone who followed me should flounder too.
So slot six goes to these two couplets from “Mindy and Barkley”. Just imagine trying to read this out loud. Mwahahahahahah!:
Now, way far away in a neighboring land,
Lived an angry green monster with ugly thick hands
His name was Slzzynqux, though to friends he was Blob,
And he wandered about with a frown on his gob.