I Just Want to be Maurice Sendak

I have been given an unconventional project this week that is causing me more than a little heartburn. For anyone who is in my Digital Composition class, you might be thinking that I am concerned about our plagiarism assignment. Actually, it is something a bit more intimidating…my husband has asked me to write him a children’s book.

“So what’s the big deal?” you may ask.

Well in no particular order, here is a list of issues:

1) This book is supposed to be finished by my husband’s birthday…which gives me exactly13 days to write and edit it. Talk about pressure!

2) My husband intends to publish it. He is an artist and has been trying to get me to write a children’s book for him to illustrate for years. I think he fancies us as some sort of Stan and Jan Berenstain, which might be a bit of a stretch.

3) It has been my dream to write a children’s book since I was a child (well either that or to write for Reader’s Digest). Now I am aware that when most people think of children’s literature, things like Go Dog Go come to mind. This is of course a great beginner book, but not exactly the most imaginative writing. If I were just setting out to write another Go Dog Go, my task would be simple. But of course, I want to write a truly timeless piece of children’s literature. Something a little more like Chicken Soup With Rice or Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

And last, but not least:

4) I am the worst kind of perfectionist. It could take me a whole month to write a poem, let alone a simple children’s book. In some ways this blog has been incredibly therapeutic and helped me work through my perfectionistic tendencies – but writing for any public audience is revealing and a bit like jumping into the deep end of the pool when you are a horrible swimmer (which I am).

Despite all of these reasons, I am grateful that I have such a wonderful and supportive husband. He challenges me to step outside of who I think I am capable of being every time I turn around and I want to write this book for him. Actually, I want to write this book for me more than I even want to write it for him.

So now, how do I go about accomplishing this incredible task? Well, I am thinking of approaching it in poem form because it somehow seems less daunting for a first book (though of course it’s late and I could quite possibly be sleep deprived). I’m honestly not sure where I am going with it yet, but I would love any and all suggestions anyone may have. If I manage to get it done sometime in the next millennium I will try to post an excerpt or two, and maybe a picture to go along with it.