My writing break is busy with little projects, and new book ideas are happily simmering. The rain lingered through most of May, so I spent a couple weeks playing at other kinds of creativity. I thought I’d try to illustrate one of my children’s stories. Here are the first six pages. A couple still need some work, but it’s a start. The verse is hard to see at this mini size, so I added it below.
In a dim and distant galaxy
Due east of dusty Mars
Spins a tiny greenish planet
Nestled in a spray of stars.
Its rivers teem with fishes
Its fields grow golden wheat
And fireflies light its lanterns
Along every nighttime street.
The sun smiles at its dawning
Rain only drips at night.
Even prickly woodland beasties
Hardly ever raise a fright.
“Life is grand in Alderdoof,”
The elders often say.
“Could a soul in all the village
Want it any other way?”
Yet, inside a shingled cottage
At the end of Grabble Lane
Lives a gloomy, grouchy creature
Ana Goblyn is her name.
She’s sour, dour, and cranky
Her lips droop in a frown.
She’s bored with every place and person
In her friendly town.
She snuffs and snorts her crabbiness
At doting mom and dad
Who shake their heads in weariness.
“It’s really not so bad.”
“Your chums skip in the daffydils.
Why not go out and play?”
Ana grunts and glowers grumpily
And yearns to run away!
“My life is oh so commonplace
My chores are never fair.
My mates think I’m quite ordinary
And I hate my curly hair.”
“Why can’t I live where everyone
Adores a prize like me?
Amongst a band of monsters
Where I’ll do just as I please?”
“A fine idea,” her father shouts.
“Let’s build a shiny ship!
We’ll add two booster rockets
To give you lots of zip.”
They toil in the garden
For an endless, grueling week.
Her ship peeks over rooftops
Its metal smooth and sleek.
(23 more stanzas in case you’re eager to read the rest!)
At last, the craft is finished.
Eager Ana packs her sack.
She scrambles up the ladder
Not a single wee glance back.
To Alderdoof she bids farewell
And to her mom and dad.
Yet, oh, one watery tear does fall
Her parting a morsel sad.
The spaceship flies past pearly moons
And girds a sparkling star.
Now all alone, she wonders why
She’s traveled quite this far.
Then on a sodden planet
She spies a foggy shantytown
Pulls on the spaceship’s landing gear
And gently sets her down.
From a bank of fog with eerie grace
Emerge her curious hosts.
They look like leggy lizards
With bodies as wispy as ghosts.
Their scaly skin is slimy
Much greener than a fish.
And long hooked tails like fire-pokers
Flick and flop and swish.
The only hair upon their heads
Sticks out from twitching ears.
And yellow eyes, flecked with red,
Blink as the monsters near.
They click their claws in unison
And sway from side to side
While Ana wonders if it’s wiser
To spend her days inside.
Around her shiny metal hull
The monsters plod and prowl.
Then bare their pointy yellow teeth
From snouts bent in a scowl.
Those ghastly, ghostly monster-frowns
Make Ana shout with glee.
“These grumpy, lumpy lizard things
Are grouchy just like me!”
Without a thought, she pops a pout
And opens up the hatch.
She clambers down the ladder
To a soggy, grassy patch.
The creatures wince in horror.
They cringe at the fearsome sight.
The thing climbing from its tinny can
Is twice their size in height!
It has no tail or claws or fangs
Its teeth shine white as bones.
Two legs, not four, lumber
Across the weathered seaside stones.
Centered in its oval face
Is a point with two round holes.
Its blue orbs look like drowning pools
That plan to steal their souls.
Atop the creatures head twists
A tangle of coiling curls.
The monster can only be the dreaded
Spoiled human girl!
The ghostly, scaly lizards squawk
Turn hooked tails and flee.
They scuttle and scramble and dive headfirst
Into their foggy sea.
That rude reception draws a sniff
Her welcome disappointing.
Ana boards her lonely ship
Head hung low and moping.
“I suppose I might fly onward
To another flaming sun.
But this journey hasn’t turned out
As I hoped when it begun.”
Ana dawdles in her silent ship
While wondering what to do.
Perhaps she’s learned a precious lesson
And grown up a day or two.
Maybe chores aren’t quite so vexing
Her parents more than fair.
Perhaps her chums are a tad bit fun
And there’s worse than curly hair.
The cozy town of Alderdoof
Seems such a kindly place
Far away from where she waffles
In the starry void of space.
A sudden thought bubbles up.
Could it be that she’d been wrong?
Could her cranky, crabby crossness
Be the problem all along?
With nary a grousing rumble
Not a gripe or grumbling groan
But with a happy smile, Ana turns her dials
And sets her sights on home.