How to Make Like a Tree & Leave Things Behind:
MY FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK IS . . . "The Lorax" by Dr Seuss. I wanted to write my own story about trees. Even with some great inspiration, “Happy Birthday Maple” did not come easily to me, because it was not actually the story I set out write.
The first story I wrote was called the ‘Tree Retreat’. It was about trees from all around the world, gathering up their roots and meeting at the top of the earth for the annual “Tree Retreat.” I know, not bad right? But as I was writing the story I realized there wasn’t much in it for kids. It became overworked and really preachy. It lacked joy, a magical spark. Man, when something ain’t working, it really feels like WORK!
After the 10th unsuccessful draft of the story, I realized I had to let it go. It was a really hard thing to do. I felt like a failure. How could I have wasted so much time on a story? Why couldn’t I salvage this thing?!!! I had to take a step back and have a chat with myself. . .
Q: “What is the essence, the emotional core of the story?”
A: “I want to tell a story that celebrates trees”.
Q: “Who are you writing for?”
A: “Little kids and families”
Q: “What do kids like to celebrate?”
A: “Their BIRTHDAYS!”
Q: “How about a birthday party for a tree?”
In this frame of mind, I wrote “Happy Birthday Maple” in one sitting. It was a joy to write. Didn’t feel like work at all.
A Birthday with the trees!