P.S. New Baby Steps

My son is learning to walk. And I know he will get there someday (a lot sooner than I am prepared for, I’m sure). Right now, however, he can’t even crawl. He’s got the rolling over down pretty good (when he wants to). And he’s mastered tummy time, lifting his head quite high for extended periods. But the movement part of the process eludes him. I think it’s the giant Buddha belly that’s keeping him in one place. He can’t quite get himself high enough on hands and knees to stop the belly from holding him in a teetering position (images of Garfield, post-lasagna dinner, come to mind). And at this particular moment, he’s on his back, arms and legs flailing, “stuck” beneath a cloth book that he has draped over his face, so I don’t think I need to worry about a mobile child any time soon. But, in the grand scheme of things, he is learning to walk. For that is the end goal, right? (Well, walk, then run, then become a star basketball athlete and get the full-ride scholarship to the school of his dreams and win the national championship in his freshman year…but, I digress.) Yes, the end goal, for now, is walking. And all these little advancements in movement, each success at the next step towards that first step, are all part of the learning process.

And this is where I find myself, too. Back at the beginning, learning to “walk”. Recently, I made a move in my professional/creative life to begin focusing on writing children’s books. Picture books specifically. As I have recently become a frequent reader of this genre, so too have ideas for these types of stories flooded into my mind. And so, I’m back at the start. Maybe not as completely novice as this young one on his quest toward bipedal motion. I have written a novel and, therefore, know how to put some words together to create a story. Children’s literature is, however, a whole new world when it comes to writing. There are new rules, new things to consider when drafting a story. And the idea that children’s books are easier to write than more lengthy works is a bit of a fallacy. Sure, there are less words, but that can often make it way more difficult. A lower word count makes each individual word much more important. And, if you are thinking of writing a story in rhyme, well, there is so much…and you have to…and then there’s…well, just don’t. It is much more difficult than I initially thought it would be and have quickly come to realize that it is going to take far far more time and study to create a great rhyming story than just coming up with a little jingle to sing at bedtime. So yes, I’m in the early stages, just taking those first few baby steps into this new genre and, although there have been some stumbles already, I really am enjoying it. It’s fun and I find myself getting quite excited when I sit down to write now. And, hopefully, it won’t be too much longer until I reach the “walking” of publication. (Let’s just hope it happens before the young one gets his scholarship). A baby getting a basketball scholarship! Basketball Baby! Could there be a story there?

The Baking Challenge: As you’ll recall, I have challenged myself to bake one new thing each week this year. This past Friday, I made a batch of savory British biscuits (not really the biscuit we Americans think of, light and fluffy, that come with any deep-fried southern meal or covered in gravy at any roadside diner, but more of a thin cookie type biscuit). Half of them were poppy seed and the other half were parmesan and sundried tomato. Both were quite delicious and we enjoyed them with a dinner of warm split-pea soup on a cold, rainy Friday night. I had never made these before and the recipe came from, surprise surprise, my Great British Bake-Off cookbook. Now, the challenge here with the cookbook being British was the measurements. All grams and milliliters rather than cups or derivations thereof. And really, as long as you have a kitchen scale, much easier and fewer ridiculous little cleanups. (Just another argument in the limitless list of why we as a country really should go metric.) So, a successful bake. Pretty quick and easy, a quality I really appreciate in recipes these days, and one that will definitely be repeated. Now, what to bake next?


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