Monday, January 28, 2013

Slug and Bug Go to a Party

As promised last week, I am sitting down to tell a tale worthy of human consumption.  Tiny humans at least.  I even created some cover art on the fly using an app on Heather's iPad that let's you draw by hand on the screen.  I'm not exactly artistic and the app is far from user friendly - it's almost impossible to do circles, as evidenced by the output below, but it's fully digital and not really any worse than what I would draw on paper.  But I'm definitely too lazy to make a picture for each page, so you will just have to use your imagination.  Each paragraph marks a new page.  Without further adieu...

Slug was not happy today.  Slug did not have to go to school today.  Slug did not have a headache.  Slug had no work to do today, and felt perfectly well.  But slug was not happy, because slug was going to a party.

Bug yelled "Hurry up Slug, we don't want to be late!"  Bug was Slug's best friend.  Bug loved parties, but Slug did not.

Slug would rather read a book

or climb a tree

or play at the park.  Slug did not like parties because Slug liked peace and quiet.  And there is never peace or quiet at a party.

"What's the hurry?" asked Slug.  "The party will last for hours.  Can't we wait a little longer to go?"
"No" said Bug.  "I want to go now.  There are so many people to see and things to do!"

"We will play fun games!"

"We will eat delicious food!"

"We will talk to all of our friends!"

"I would rather spend my time with just one friend", said Slug.  "But I will go to the party because you want to go.

So Slug went to the party, and he ate the food, and played the games, and talked to the other guests.  At the end of the night he was exhausted, but he had a good time.  More importantly, his best friend Bug had a wonderful evening, which would not have been the same if Slug was not there.

"Thank you for coming to the party, Slug.  Tomorrow maybe we can go to the park and spend the day together" said Bug.  "I would like that very much" said Slug.

As Slug drifted off to sleep, he was glad he went to the party, and he was even more glad he had Bug for a best friend.  Then he dreamed about playing in the park with Bug.

The End

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Publisher's Dream

Writing a blog isn't always easy - at least if your goal is to write entries that some human being may find reasonably interesting more often than not.  It certainly is easier than writing a book, or so I imagine.  Putting together a story that spans several hundred pages exceeds anything I can imagine being within the confines of my limited attention span.  However, as I look back on my childhood I can't help but think the easiest book to write must surely be a Children's book.

In some ways writing a book for kids must be tough - you have to use a limited vocabulary and sentence structures.  On the other hand, there's no need for deep character development, plot twists or lengthy narrative.  Of course a good artist is a must, but I assume a publishing company would provide that.  So I am tempted to try my hand at writing a Children's book.  How hard could it be?

The key to a good book for small children, besides strong paper that is tear and water resistant, and a talented artist to populate the pages with your imaginary world, is friendly characters that tend to be animal based.  No three year old wants to hear a story about a bunch of kids in a daycare.  They want to hear about bears in the woods, or a puppy that gets a new home.  Of course the characters generally walk and talk like humans, oftentimes even wearing clothing.  This allows a tale to be told that is distinctly human, while more stimulating to the imagination.  Or maybe book illustrators just prefer drawing animals.  Either way, animal characters are the way to go.

I'm thinking my story will revolve around two typical garden creatures, perhaps a slug and a ladybug, aptly named "Slug" and "Bug".  It will be filled with action-packed lines like "Slug was not happy today" and "Bug yelled 'hurry up Slug, we don't want to be late!'"  Unlike other authors, I will not try to totally humanize my characters to the point where they lose all connection to their place in the real world though.  This will lead to a story more compelling and realistic.  At least that's how I envision it.  But not until next week.  I'm spent.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Dog Days of Winter

Every once in a while I go to a website for one of our local animal shelters and browse to see if any of the dogs catch my eye.  Heather and I live about as unencumbered a life as possible, considering the fact that there is nothing that depends upon us for life, be it child, pet, or even plant.  I suppose the dust mites in our bed sheets might wither away without the flakes of skin that we contribute to their diet, a sort of manna from heaven for such tiny creatures if you will, but I don't know if they would actually perish or not.  Besides, if you are microscopic you don't count.

Needless to say, I was actually interested in the look of a small-medium sized dog that was estimated to be a terrier mix.  Surprisingly, when I showed the picture to Heather she also was interested, so we decided to pay a visit to the local pound.  Unfortunately, this particular dog was adopted before we got a chance to see him, but we did stroll around and look at the rest of the inmates.  If you have never been to an animal shelter, it's pretty depressing.  The dogs would approach us from behind their chain linked cages and look with sad eyes at us as if they knew that we, like most visitors, would probably not be taking them home.  Some shivered in the cold, others barked excitedly, while some just looked at us as we passed by.

It's hard to get a feel for a dog's personality in such confines, but we did get to spend some one-on-one time with three of the dogs.  Not surprisingly they all spent the majority of their time checking out their new surroundings when we took them for a walk, and focused mainly on investigating the smells they encountered while ensuring they left their own scent behind in various locations.  I'm thankful that human beings developed the handshake to introduce ourselves, so there's no need to urinate in various high traffic areas to say hi to others.

Unfortunately, none of the three dogs we checked out seemed the right fit, although one, a lab mix wouldn't be a bad dog at all.  She had the look and more importantly the temperament of a black lab but was more medium than large sized, due apparently to whatever other breed was involved in what was undoubtedly a passionate but unapproved exchange on a sultry night in Texas. (I wonder if dogs call it "doing it our style"?)  I think Heather and I are ready to take on the responsibility of having a pet, but we will have to wait a bit longer to find the right one.