I love my porch. It’s a wonderful spot for reading, people watching, and playing board games with my kids. It’s also a great landing spot for special packages, like this sturdy parcel which landed here on Friday!
I knew this was my long anticipated birthday/Christmas gift and I couldn’t wait to unwrap it!
First, there was the bubble wrap. Next, I could could just see the top edge in a tidy plastic encased swirl.
Finally, first through plastic…
and then – oh my – in my hand!
It’s the original hand-painted spread for the “Time for bed/It’s getting dark” spread in GOODNIGHT, ARK! I just love the details in the original – actually being able to see the layering of paint and those tiger whiskers, Jane, are just amazing!
Thank you, Dad, for this lovely gift, and thank you, Jane for being will to part with one of these treasures!
After oohing and aahing with my family, I took the illustration straight to my favorite local framing shop. And Stefanie and I (Thank you, Stefanie!) spent almost two hours playing with mattes and frames and lay out options.
Now, here’s my writerly pep talk – which I very much needed on Friday, by the way. I had optimistically put $.50 in the parking meter, thinking that an hour would be ample time to select the perfect matte, frame and layout for Jane’s piece.
But after an hour, we still hadn’t found a winning combination. To be honest, I was ready to be finished, but Stephanie handed me $.50 to replenish the meter and so, even though it was raining, I dashed out to buy another hour’s time.
When I returned to the shop, waterlogged, Stephanie said something so simple, yet so wise. Here are her words: “Oh, good, we’ve got more time because I think you and I both know it’s not quite working yet.” I smiled at her honesty. And somehow, with that truth now out there in the open, it was easier to return to the quest. Indeed, shortly thereafter, tucked low on one of her revolving racks, I found a simple wooden frame that really said “Noah’s Ark” to me. Once we had that, it was suddenly clear as daylight which matte we should use. What it took was admission that we weren’t quite there yet and renewed intent and joy in the search.
It’s like that as writers too. We work and work on a story, at points even hoping that it’s finished and ready to submit. But, sometimes, it just isn’t and what that story really needs is an honest voice – maybe your own, or maybe that of your critique partner or agent – to say “Keep at it, it’s not quite working yet”.
Then, even if your spirit feels rained on, go add money to the meter! Keep at it. Don’t give up! Persevere! You will make that story sing. It may just take looking at it from a new perspective, digging deep and finding a new ending twist -or bit of arc- tucked low in the recesses of your brain, waiting to be discovered.
Happy writing this rainy week and don’t be afraid to add extra money to that meter!