May, and Maybe

Mrs. Hughes recently sent a video of Lady Baby (wearing boots), standing on a short footstool in her kitchen, pointing to a refrigerator magnet picture of a polar bear. Under the bear, the word Alaska is spelled out. Lady Baby points to the word and tells her mother: “It says: polar bear you have to wait for your baby.” She can’t read, but she knows the power of letters and understands she can assign language to the picture – she’s making up a story.

She likes to look for pictures in my journal. When she discovered drawings of cats – she studied each one, looking for familiar features. But she liked best a pretty awful drawing of This Baby with an inky face (a rough for the postcard I sent her). She returned to it repeatedly, recognizing somebody she knew in a drawing delighted her.

I’d love to make her a storybook. I have always wanted, like lots of readers who draw, to make a children’s book. If I don’t try, I will be truly disappointed in myself. (Writing that sentence makes me feel like one of my Workroom people, and I’d be the first to encourage – dragoon the timid, badger the reluctant – into giving something long desired a try.)

Ideas for a story have come – a picture in my mind to begin, and a critical addition by our younger son over dinner one night (he handed me the very simple overall theme: Cromwell and Wolsey teach Frances about friendship). Amongst the enjoyable house thinking of April, I strayed frequently to this story.

Writing “Her spirits rose…” is a routine and a pleasure. I can always let it get in the way of doing anything else, so I’d like to use the power of that routine to work on this project. I was recently told illustration is hard, and I know that, but for love you’ll try anything. Lady Baby is tolerant and accepting – she won’t be “judgy.”

It might seem I’m taking a break (and that’s a good thing – summer is nearly upon us!). Maybe I’ll post bits and pieces, studies, the outline of the story as I make myself tackle what seems a difficult task, confronting the myriad decisions and self-doubt in such an undertaking.

And maybe, maybe, I’ll figure out why the polar bear needed to be instructed to wait for its baby!

cats - c commons II

20 thoughts on “May, and Maybe

  1. As you well know, I LOVE the stories about Lady Baby, and this was a lovely glimpse into her thoughts. Do it, Katy! Create a children’s book. We’re all waiting.                   Love, Jane

  2. No maybes about whether or not you should do this. You should. And the polar bear will wait patiently for its instructions while you draw his portrait. I think it’s a wonderful idea and can’t wait for the results. We won’t be “judgy” either. Would be great to have some bits and pieces along the way.

  3. I wrote a story for Margaret & Drake about Henry, ,The Chameleon…….a changable but not a fickle Lizard. Charlie illustrated it. I’ve never been inspired to write another! Good luck with yours……..

  4. Oh my -you have to create a book for your beloved little girl!!! You and she will sit side by side reading your story together! What fun!! As your friend stated above “send us tidbits.”
    Looking forward to purchasing a first edition! Carry on. Hugs, netzy

  5. I am so excited about this I can barely stand it. It will be such a treasure for LB, and I’m sure that Wolsey would be pleased as punch to accompany you on your international book tour! You are an inspiration, Katy. Go for it! xo

    • Thank you so much for cheering on Mera and Cynthia! The thought of being on the road with Wolsey is huge incentive. What fans he would attract. Cynthia, we could stop in Boston.
      Meanwhile, back to the drawing board with your kind expectations and anticipations to live up to! Xo

  6. My sister did a photograph story book (she was an elementary teacher and reading specialist) for each of her grandchildren. They all have loved their stories. My husband wrote a book about our Big Kitty, the cat of many names…he and the story have been much treasured too. Your wonderful way with illustration and words will make this a children’s classic as well as a tribute to the Lady Baby.

    • Susan, thank you so much for your kind and generous words! It’s great to hear about the books – specially Big Kitty, the cat of many names (a classic title right there). Hasn’t it been fun to get to know one another because of our connection to Red House West. It’s lovely to have you visiting here!

  7. Oh, you NEED to do a book for Lady Baby! I did one years ago for my niece that involved a mouse hiding in various places in her g grandparents’ house. She read the book and found the various spots and in the last place was a little denim stuffed mouse.

  8. I want to add my enthusiastic “Yes!” to the chorus of supporters, Katy.
    Potential disappointment in one’s failure to try — a profound thought to acknowledge on a blog. Goforit!

    • Oh hi Jan – how good to hear from you! I came to the blog just now to post a little progress for tomorrow. It’s amazing how many stumbling blocks one can erect – so it’s wonderful to hear your enthusiastic support and recognition of the disappointment in failing to try – thank you!

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