I’m pretty psyched. I completed what turned out to be the fourth or even fifth, actually more likely the fifteenth, set of revisions on my book. It has been a three-year project, and I have my community to thank for this feat.
Initially, I naively thought I could throw my blogs together and make a book. “Oh no,” said my publisher. “It requires much more of you than that.”
I almost wish I had written it in conjunction with pursuing a master’s in fine arts (MFA) since it feels like I just completed my dissertation. The title is (shock of shocks) Be Brave. Lose the Beige: Finding Your Sass After Sixty. She Writes Press is my publisher, and the launch is scheduled for next May.
I pushed the send button to email my revisions and collapsed on the floor of my office.
And then left for a week-long beach vacation with my kids and grandchildren. Pushing the send button felt awesome, but what I found to be even more thrilling was collaborating with my seven-year-old granddaughter on the creation of her own book.
Over the course of our Memorial Day vacation, she produced page after page of phonetically spelled out words and penned illustrations.
My mother was an author. She was a writer for a public relations firm and authored Beginning Astrology (for the Real Beginner). My daughter Tracy fulfilled my dream by getting her MFA and wrote a book, Index These Thoughts, for her final project. Now my granddaughter (I’m fantasizing) has launched her author debut with The Bunny Book.
A story cube inspired Maya’s book. Pappy (my husband), Maya, grandson Ru, and I played with this cube during our stay in New Smyrna Beach. Participants take turns rolling the die and concocting short stories about the image featured on the side where the die lands: tent, question mark, confused emoji, shooting star, old fashioned key, or fountain.
To add to the fun, we were each assigned a miniature bunny whose personality we assumed during our story time. Pappy’s bunny name was Bullwinkle; I was Mama Jo; Ru’s was Doby; and Maya’s, Lolly. It was exciting to see the lightbulb go off in Maya’s head as she said, “I’ve got an idea! I’m going to write a book about our bunny stories.”
It was fascinating for me to see how her mind worked and to witness how a game inspired a creative idea. One of the hardest parts of writing my own book was imposing a discipline and structure to the process. Maya didn’t seem to struggle with this issue. “Stories from the Cube” was her theme.
Each bunny character was assigned its own chapter; and six stories comprised each chapter based upon the six sides of the cube. Nice, neat, done. How was this seven-year-old already smarter than me? I wondered.
She didn’t finish the project. But when we gather again, you can be sure I will urge her to continue. Here is sample page from her story:
Context: Mama Joe shared a story about camping based upon the tent icon on the cube. Translated:
“I don’t like to camp because I don’t like mosquitos (although I like muscidos better), said Mama Joe. The ground is too hard. So I stay at home.”
It felt like Maya picked up a baton, or in this case, the pen, becoming a part of the legacy of female authors in my family. To be fair, Maya’s grandfather and step-grandfather have authored books in their own right but there is just something thrilling about four generations of women liking words.
What creative arts have you passed on to your grandchildren? Do you do them together? What activities connect you with your grandchildren the most?