Tis the season to look back and cringe and wince and groan at all the excesses and travails that we each have suffered this past year. Those added pounds, those accumulating images we haven’t deleted, the pictures we didn’t get, the horrible ones we did. So much for which to be thankful!

For me, tis the season to look back really really far and admire the budding genius that I was in 5th grade- a time when my creative juices ran freely and  permanently stained whatever they touched. Oh, those were truly the wonder years when I was free to explore my growing creative calling unrestrained by effort, knowledge or talent.

photo[3]As evidence of my budding genius let me share with you Exhibit 1, The Life of a Deer, a report I did when I was in 5th grade. I actually have no memory of this report, thank God, but my mother, who like all mothers saves everything ever made by their children, found this in a pile of debris when she was moving to a new place to live. Why it had been saved and not properly burned I’ll never know. Ah, the fickle fury of the fates.

Please note the compelling cover art and the design that I am sure I spent seconds completing. I am guessing that the ‘artistic’ lines were doodles done while the teacher was saying something important that I of course missed. And also note the three punch holes on both sides of the page. This innovative technique allows the report to be read by those of us who read instead from right to left. Was there no bounds to my genius?


photo[1]You will be mercifully spared the contents of this gripping tale. Trust me when I say that in reading it there is no evidence what so ever that 40 years hence I would be able to produce a coherent sentence. But even then I knew that words alone couldn’t carry such an epic story. No, no, I relied on heart throbbing graphics and gut wrenching images to fully tell this tale. Apparently, the impact of the above was lost due less than acceptable presentation. I am happy to report today though due to years of diligent effort and several years spent abroad mastering this art that my pasting skills have improved dramatically. Rarely now does an editor comment on my pasting abilities when presented with a book proposal.

photo[2]And so what were the results of this Herculean effort; this my first attempt to gain recognition and the easy dollars of a published author? Eh, not so hot. Mrs. Crouchbottom was the first in a long line of manuscript reviewers who have all said just about the same thing to me over the years- “Interesting idea” “Good try” “Your grammar sucks.”

So how have I managed to get 14 books published? Got me. I think the secret might be that I don’t actually pay any attention to what others say about my work. This approach held me in good stead as I plowed through my 18 years schooling (and that was only for the first 12 grades!). My eye was ever unwavering, my resolve like steel, my heart hand in hand with my lofty ambition as I  strove to be barely above average. But I sure had fun!

Maybe I knew then that ultimately the person I had to please was myself first and everyone else last. I might have paid a little bit of attention, (I am a far better paster after all) if I respected the opinions of the person trying to help me. But if they weren’t trying to help me or if I thought the person was just a schmo being negative I didn’t and still don’t pay any attention to them. There is too much senseless negativity in this world. Those of us who are trying to be brave and creative and rise above the morass must stand firm with blinders on and three hole binders in hand. And what was that comment about me grammar, Crouchbottom?

There might be a lesson in here somewhere, you tell me, I’m still mesmerized by my cover design.