Today, September 14th, I launch my new blog - Your Story- My Messy Muse (tm).
And today, September 14th, is an important day for me to launch my blog. Because today, 17 years ago on a sunny Friday, is the reason why I write. Today, 17 years ago on a sunny Friday, is the heart of my inspiration. Today, 17 years ago on a sunny Friday, my father was murdered.
“Murdered!,” you say. “This is #kidlit. You’re supposed to be happy and colorful. Cupcakes and talking bears!” And, to that I say, “No.” We are supposed to be who we are. We are supposed to write from a place of genuine authenticity no matter how dark or sad that place may be. And the unfortunate reality is, many of us #kidlit writers write from a place of darkness, sadness, or despair. And that is ok. Because life is not perfect and neither are we.
We write to Remember, to Release, to Recharge. (tm)
So here, today, with this blog, on Friday, September 14th, I Remember my dad, I Release my story to you, and I Recharge my spirit. I no longer hide the fact that it was tragedy that propelled me to write. And I no longer apologize for my tragic inspiration.
I know I’m not alone. There are many amazing #kidlit authors that write from a place of sadness or tragedy. And their stories are noteworthy, award winners, devoured by the marketplace. Because children have tragedy, children have loss and children have despair. Children, like us, are not immune to the realities of life. And, children, like us, need our stories.
My Superhero Grandpa, my award winning debut picture book published in 2016, is about a grandpa who watches over his young grandson from Heaven. This story was born from a need to introduce my young son to his grandpa, whom he would never hug or truly know. This story was my way of making his grandpa the coolest person around, because what’s cooler than a superhero!
The Gorilla Picked Me! is a story directly inspired by a childhood experience. As a child I was a bit chubby and introverted, never the one to receive extra attention from the outside world. While at a daddy-daughter dance, moments after my father had stepped away, a gorilla came out to entertain the crowd. The gorilla picked me up and danced me around in his arms for all to see.
In that moment my soul was elated. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s, years after my father had passed away, that I realized perhaps, it was him in that gorilla suit. It will forever be my dad’s secret.
So, you see, simply because our muse is shrouded in sadness, doesn’t mean our story, Your Story, can’t be triumphant, colorful, and happy. This blog will celebrate those #kidlit stories inspired by a muse that is a little bit messy. Because, after-all, life is not perfect and neither are we.
And that’s ok.