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Thursday, August 31, 2006

When Pigs Fly

Recently, I had the most amazing opportunity to collaborate with the brilliant Joshua Brunet on a children's book called, "When Pigs Fly." Josh conceptualized and illustrated the story, then asked me to put the words to it.

Being the busy little artists that we are, we have finished the book and sent our manuscript out to 10 different publishers. We are currently waiting on their replies.

In the meantime, I volunteered at a local elementary school where my friend, Melissa, teaches the third grade. Melissa introduced me to her class as "Mrs. Taylor, who is an Author." The kids gasped with excitement. Their eyes got big and they sat forward in their seats. (Or, rather, on the floor where their little butts were situated.;-)

"Does anyone have questions for Mrs. Taylor?" asked Melissa. Ten little arms shot into the air. (I have to comment here about how bizarely unnerving it is to sit in front of thirty, eager third graders.) The little faces turned toward me, eyebrows raised, hands waiving, and I felt the heat of adolescence all over again. Pick me, pick me, goes the eight year-old brain.

So one by one I called on them, trying to be as fair as possible. The first question was, "What sort of stories do you write?" This was an impressive question. Very pertinent and smart, I thought.

"Well, actually, I've written a story for children. It's about a pig who wants to fly."

Another forest of arms sprouted into the air. I picked the next one.

"I think I've read your story!" came the sing-songy voice, her words crooning like notes. "It's about three little pigs and a wolf."

"Uh, I didn't write that story. But it's a really famous one about pigs." I said in my best teacherly voice. "Good connection." I wiggled in my chair and pointed to the next little hand reaching for the air.

"I think I saw your book at the bookstore!" said the little girl with ribbons. "It was about a pig with a spider."

I opened my mouth, stunned. Then I tried to explain that while that was a really wonderful children's story called, "Charlotte's Web," it was not, in fact, the wonderful story I had written.:-/

I gathered myself and tried for a fourth question. I pointed to a boy in the back row with a bright red soccer shirt.

"I think my friend has the movie of your book. 'Babe'--" he began.

Without skipping a beat, Melissa stepped in and took things under control. "Uh people, Mrs. Taylor's book isn't for sale - yet. So you probably haven't seen it or read it anywhere."

This of course only made me sink lower in my chair!

Here's to flying pigs and feeble attempts at inspiring kids.;-)


Anonymous Erik said...

WOW! I was amazed at the visuals when we went to see Josh's gallery show at IWU back early this year...and now to know that the words were "smithed" by you?! Excellent! I can't wait for the actual publishing...which I am sure you will post details about here. We were ready to buy a copy at the show!

Let me know when you want to make the movie!

5:28 AM  
Blogger corrie said...

uh, any connection to the "flying pig" restaurant back in marion??

3:06 PM  
Blogger ap said...

i have tried to write a comment several times, but i think a big :D is appropriate.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You paint the picture of you in the classroom with the third graders really well! i felt like i was there! I can't wait to read your book! :-D

2:16 AM  
Anonymous julia b. said...

Yea, those paintings were amazing!! I wish I had one of them hanging in my living room.....oh, wait I do!! I'm married to the real Josh....heh, heh. Hey, Christin - just thought I'd jump on your blog tonight and I find it funny that this was your topic. you are so refreshing when you write. I just want to sit back and drink a tall glass of Christin because whatever you write, I always relate with and you make things light and easy even if in reality they aren't that way. I have been "put in my place" many times by circumstances such as yours with the kids in the classroom. You are an author; a real live writer....I read your thoughts all the time.
julia b.

9:00 PM  

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