Home > Writing and Poetry > Days 6 and 7 of NaPiBoWriWee–The Wire

Days 6 and 7 of NaPiBoWriWee–The Wire

It’s true, folks. Today is the last day of Paula Yoo’s Picture Book Writing Challenge.

Last night, or should I say very early this morning, I finished yesterday’s challenge picture book. Subject: catching a Jack Snapper. No, not the fish–salt water or otherwise–but the worm. It was a past time exercised by boys and girls alike of all ages  for time immemorial in the south and mid-west.

I have no idea what the creature’s real name is, nor do I care particularly. I only know what we called them as we spent hours patiently trying to lure one in hopes of yanking it out of its hole. You had to be quick after all that patience. The trick was making sure it was in the hole in the first place.

I got the piece finished around one a.m. and didn’t even get a posting done on Paula’s fine website or blog. It was too late and I’d had a long day.

Now I have the very last one to write today. I’m not sure what it will be about, but there’s an inkling hovering around the upper left-hand corner of my bedroom window wall that looks pretty determined to lead the field of possibilities.

I am luxuriating this morning for just an hour or so. I have the place all to myself for the first time in weeks. Leisurely breakfast after sleeping in, do the online requirements for the morning, and then hit the revision button in the brain for that anthology story that has a deadline. After that is gravy.

I actually took time to play a few games of solitaire while my brain babbled and whirred to itself on whatever it still needed to process for the morning. And during one of those game, an old lesson returned for an encore.

I was playing Spider solitaire, which is one of my favorites. I normally have a high win percentage. But this morning the game just wasn’t cooperating. I kept beginning the same one determined to find the proper combination of plays that would allow the game to be won.

When I finally managed the win after three tries, it hit me that this innocuous game is simply an analogy for life. The only way to win the game is by making the correct choices in the correct order. Life is just like that.

We’re handed a game at the outset of our lives. Early on all decisions are made for us since we’re not yet capable. But once we cross that threshold to responsible maturity, we must choose our own correct moves to the outcomes we desire.

Let’s face it, the only control anyone has is what he/she says and does. I chose to write about jack snappers. Will the story sell to a publisher once the piece is polished as best as I can make it? I have no idea. It depends entirely upon the editor who reads it first, second, last. It might never sell.

The point is that I made the choice because I figured it was a cute story, one that hadn’t been done to death, I liked it, and maybe some kid somewhere will be intrigued enough to find out more about that particular little worm.

 It was a story about an American cultural pastime in one region of the country. It was for boys in particular because that’s who spent the most time doing it. And it spoke about the past and what we, as a culture, may have lost in our modern world.

All of which brings us to consequences. Everything I wrote just now reflects who I am now, was before, and could be again. I’m not ashamed of any of it. It speaks of a time of wonder when life was as simple as stretching out in front of that jack snapper hole, slowly working the grass stem down the hole, and luring the worm to latch onto the seedhead with its pincher jaws.

Not so simple is whipping that stem out of the hole, worm still attached, and claiming the humped-back’s prize. That one country pastime echoes life for all of us. I suppose that’s what I wanted the adult readers of the story to take away from it. While the worm makes for a good Show and Tell, the lesson speaks volumes about life’s choices and how they’re used.

I know. I’ve gone philosophical on you again. Oh, well, light frivolity gets on my nerves after a while. I can only participate in that mode for so long before reverting.

I’ll let you know what the last book brings and how the Week Of Picture Books ends tomorrow. Until then,

A bientot,

Claudsy

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