How much fun it is to write a story, and illustrate it, too. Someone said that publishers like to have their own artists illustrate your story, but I knew that they did not know what Mr. F. looks like.
It seemed before, the stories that began, never took form, dying not too far into the process. Usually, the reach was too far out there, too much that really wasn’t so much a part of my own life. That’s what is different this time. The story is organic, growing out from personal experience, true-to-life characters and situations. It by grace seems living to me, the work effortless… even though it is much more work than I had anticipated.
How did the story come to be? Spontaneously, like a seed grows into a plant. Details showed themselves in morning walks, flowers bloomed and stink bugs stuck their butts up in the air! Chickens strut, bunnies get in the garden, my husband does chores. Then there were situations happening that I could neither change, improve or escape. There was an acknowledging of who I am before the Lord, my husband helping me understand, accept. Even though the story is filled with animals and has a lighter side to the drawings, each story-illustration is drawn from either my own personal cache of flaws or situations I was dealing with. The main character is my husband, his responses to me and the situations. He truly is my star. Writing the story helped me, taught me, helping me to see better. There is humor, there is Truth.
Most of the animals are living here with us, our goat, dog, chicken, rooster, worms. I had to borrow a goose and ducks from my friend Anya. The landscape is similar to where we live, the wildlife featured is really here. Our dog “Lovely Lilah” died just before the illustration stage of the story, she is still a main character, although she wasn’t as ornery in real life. She was a lovely girl, with us for ten years. I miss her very much, but she will be in another upcoming story as well. Actually, there are several more stories to be told!
The story flowed, the format was a gift. Then came much research, many revisions, making simple adjustments, corrections, simplifying, simplifying. There are still places I laugh out loud even after all those readings. That was a gift also.
There is a picture I sketched several years ago that I saw in my spirit, a silly man with fun animals all around him, when our only animal friend was Lovely Lilah and we lived elsewhere. Those animals are all in the story, and most are presently in our lives. When I thought I had finished the story, that sketch re-surfaced, and I knew I had one more chapter to go when I saw I had to include the bats.
At this point, I’m about two-thirds completed with the water-color and ink cartoon-like illustrations, and am beginning to feel a greater excitement level. It’s happening! Praise the Lord. I really know that all I can do, especially if it requires sticking to it AND enjoying it, it is a gift from my Lord. Jesus tends to be my ability and supply to do anything.
So I would take this opportunity to announce there is a wonderful little book coming, and this will most likely be the first place it is unveiled. I just couldn’t hold it in any longer!