A new decade has begun. I wonder what is in store for our world in the next ten years, the twenties. It seems like only yesterday we were bringing in the new millennium and now we are twenty years beyond that milestone in a wink of an eye.
In reflecting on the past decade I realize that my husband and I were newly retired at the beginning of the last decade. We had two unmarried, adult children when it started. They each married at the beginning of the decade and have blessed us with four grandchildren. Quite the change.
The grandchildren provide the spark that keeps their grandmother young at heart. So for me the last decade was the one in which I transitioned to retirement and being a grandmother.
It was also the decade in which I seriously took up creative writing. It has been a wonderful and rewarding journey. My inspiration comes from people in my life. Those people are often my grandchildren and as such I have now published four children’s books, one inspired by character traits of each of the four grandchildren. Connecting the stories to real people keeps them grounded in reality and appeals to readers with similar likes or challenges.
There was a time when I did not think I had an imagination. I now realize that my imagination has to be sparked by reality. Let me explain using the example of Blake’s Monkey Adventure, my first book, inspired by my eldest grandson.
Blake has an active mind and body. His favourite sentence, often voiced when he has only just begun the current activity, is “what are we going to do next?” He is easily bored and has trouble just enjoying the moment. Instead he is always looking ahead. Hence the first line of Blake’s Monkey Adventure, ‘Blake is bored, And when Blake is bored …”came to mind and danced around in my head for a time until a story started to unravel.
The monkey theme arose when my husband and I returned from Africa and brought Blake back a wonderful Batik print of a zebra for his bedroom wall. “But, I love monkeys,” came his truthful answer to what he thought of the print. In all honesty it was not voiced until weeks after we got a big thank you hug. He does have good manners. It slipped out one day when we were showing pictures of Africa and talking about the print. So I knew I needed a story that wound together his need to plan ahead and monkeys. It was natural to add the Rare Red Colobus Monkeys we had seen in Zanzibar. It was after all their pictures that had inspired Blake’s honesty about his love of monkeys over zebras.
As I struggled to find the story, I watched how his parent’s handled Blake’s constant need for change and saw that they often made deals with him. He would do something and in return would get something he wanted. They did so very consistently, making sure he kept his end of the bargain. It worked well and I wanted to model the strategy with other parents. In the story Blake needs to occupy himself quietly in order to get the big treat of a trip to the zoo. The foundation of the story had been laid.
Now I needed to figure out what would happen at the zoo. I believe it is every child’s fantasy to swing from the trees like monkeys at the zoo. It’s why monkey bars are so popular at the park, And how they got their name. I knew he shouldn’t in reality enter the monkey enclosure so I concocted a dream sequence with the surprise ending that left the reader wondering whether it was in fact a dream or reality.
The story was born of events in the realm of reality and taken to the realm of the imagination. If you wish to read the whole story you can purchase it off my website or on amazon. Here Is the link: