In the beginning, I was simply keeping journals. Isn’t that how a lot of people start out? You keep a journal, then one day you decide to read it, perhaps just to find out how much you’ve changed. A pattern may begin to emerge and then, “Wow! Some of this stuff is really interesting!” and you begin to turn it into a story…just for the heck of it.
That’s pretty much how my writing “career” began. When I was but four, I took the adventures I read about in the little books I had, combined those with whatever was happening in my life, and I made a story…and drew little pictures on the pages to illustrate it. Of course, as time went on, my thoughts and dreams went into a teenager’s diary, then an adult’s journal.
The pattern that began to emerge in my journals was the presence of my “Mama”. She used to say that there was nothing we’d ever done or felt that she, herself, had not experienced. Apparently she was being truthful, for she always had a story and a “wise old saying” to go along with whatever I was going through at any given time. She was so very wise.
Eventually the dream of writing a book began to dawn in my heart. By the time I was in my 20’s, it was a full fledged goal. By the time I hit retirement (or rather, retirement hit me!), it had become an obsessive compulsive ambition, fed by the decades of, “Mom, you should publish some of these stories you tell!” from my family. But which stories?
Immediately, all those quotes that “Mama always said” came to mind. Now mind you, I had already begun to list all the those things I remembered Mama always saying, a few years before retirement and just by themselves, they could make a nice little book that might just give people a bit of a smile. Then again, if I added all of the incidental stuff that arose from her old, sage advice…like Daddy’s comebacks and Granny’s insistence that she was the one who taught Mama all of this…I was going to wind up with two or three volumes, especially since I would have to take a good bit of poetic license to retell it all! It was going to take a good bit of time to pull all that together!
Then, one or two of my very many children suggested I try my hand at writing a kid’s book. My first response was a resounding NO! I simply couldn’t remember how to make up any more stories along the lines of the little bedtime ditties I used to come up with for my own children, and then my grandchildren. To much water under the bridge, I suppose.
But all of a sudden, a tiny voice in my mind said, “What about those other things she said? What about the “I love you more than you love me, ‘cos I’ve known you longer” game?
I thought, although not very seriously at first, about whether or not I could do this. Then, those silly little sayings pushed themselves into my brain, one by one. She would be tucking my sister and me into bed, and then…
“I love you…”, she would start, and we would giggle and say, “I love you more than you love me!”
“Ah…,” she would then respond, “But I love you more than…fleas on a dog!”, and off we went!
“I love you more than fluff in your belly button!” or “I love you more than sour in a lemon!” and so, on and on and on it would go until she would say, “I love you more than sleepy in your eyes…” and with a kiss, “Goodnight.”
I wrote them all down. I’m still writing them down.
Book #4: “Mama Always Said…I Love You More!”, will be the first book I’ve ever published that will actually be sold to the public. I may not make any profit, but by golly I’ll have a physical book to give to each of the people who encouraged me…nay! pushed me…to give it a go!
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(*Series, “Mama Always Said…”, Books I – IV ©1987-2015 by PL Pearl-Kirkby