In the beginning, I wrote love poems.
For my mother.
I was a wee child, just learning how to pencil letters that were legible. My father often sat me on his lap and shared with me books by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. Their poems were funny and original and full of rhythm and wordplay.
My poems were serious and only occasionally original and full of attempts at rhythm and wordplay. But it didn't matter because I wasn't trying to be Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein.
I was learning to be ME.
I'm still learning to be me. I still feel like a beginner. I find I have to learn the same lessons over and over again: beginnings are not the place for backstory, start in medias res, hook readers with a sharp first line.
My next three books for children are poetry. The first, DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST: And Other Poems from the Water Hole will be released this fall. I'm not sure if this is a return to my beginnings, or proof that I am still in the midst of my own birth as a writer.
Wishing all of you brilliant beginnings in 2014!