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Digging Further In

I’ve been writing articles for Divine Caroline for quite a while now, and I’m actually to the point of sending some of them out to different publications to see if anyone else thinks they’re any good. But one of my New Year’s resolutions was to write the children’s book that has been looping around my brain fifteen years. It’s called, Buddy The Barn Cat, and it’s loosely based on the life of a cat who was owned by a fellow R.N. when I worked on the oncology unit. His name was “Barney,” but the “Barn Cat” was added by me. It’s written for children 5–6 years old and about facing new situations. We all face new situations all the time in our lives: new schools, new friends, new doctors, new spouses, and new kids. As I said, it’s been looping around my brain for quite a while for one good reason: I didn’t know how to write a children’s book. I still don’t. I printed it out so that the words are at the bottom of the page, and am hoping for great illustrations to go with it. It’s quite a coincidence how I found my illustrator. Another Facebook match. It seems that the boy who took me on my first date, in the ninth grade, Patrick Welsh, is a freelance illustrator. And he happens to live in the same town that I do.

I remember from writing before that you have to send a query letter to the publisher(s) you choose to publish your book. Then you wait, for the dreaded rejection letter. I got a lot of them the first time around, and it was well-deserved: the book was crap. Other than that, I am clueless. I actually emailed Pat about what type of paper to print the story out on, and how much does the illustrator get paid. Now, if I hadn’t known Pat for something like thirty-five years, I probably wouldn’t trust his answer to that last question. He could tell me 50 percent and I’d believe him. I trust he’ll give me an honest number.

Writing the book is also an outcropping of my new found belief in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I listened to a pod-cast by the Rev. Bob Tebow, who said that God wants us to push forward, to do what we can do, not wallow in self-pity. And for several years I did so. I have so many unfinished projects around the house that I’ll be busy for the next three years. There’s the ring pillow I’ve started making, from my wedding gown, for my son to use if and when he marries. There’s also the baby clothes quilt that I started when he was born, made up of, guess, baby clothes that were meaningful to me, whether because of who it came from, but also things he loved wearing.

So I’m starting with this book. It’s a big project, but I believe it’s doable. My eleven-year-old son has read the story, likes it, and thinks that five- to six-year-olds will like it. I’ll ask the first grade teacher to read it to her class, and see what their reactions are. I have a slightly thicker skin than I had when I was younger, and believe it can be published. I read a lot of books to my son over the years and some were a lot worse than mine. I’m no Sidney Sheldon, but I think my story is better than the Duchess of York’s Budgie the Helicopter books, which I got for my niece when I was in London.

If it does get published, I’ll be sure to set aside a number of the books to be given to inner-city libraries and those libraries, like in Haiti, which were destroyed by natural disasters. We don’t have extra money to give a large, charitable donation, but my son will take his coin collection can to school on Tuesday to collect money for the Haitians. He sets up donation drives because of his belief in Christ, and I’ll do the same. I’m just asking God for a little help in finding a publisher. To me, it seems a bit superfluous with what is going on with the world, but in the end, it will hopefully spend good cheer to young children.