It’s fortunate that my friend Emma and I had a second engagement on Saturday night following our pilgrimage to Indianola to satisfy our mutual ice cream cravings. Without it, I would have had a much harder time deciding which two of the 24 flavors of ice cream available in the frosted case before me would satisfy my taste buds.
In truth, we wound our way south of Des Moines last Saturday night to attend a performance of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in which our friend was starring with her local theater troupe. It didn’t hurt though, that the original brick and mortar Outside Scoop (belatedly known to me only by it’s powder pink truck) was a mere five minutes away from the theater at which we were due at 6:30 pm.
Given more time I would undoubtably have exacerbated the woman behind the refrigerated case with countless queries to sample yet another flavor before I made my final decision. Sometimes it would seem limitation are not only necessary, but welcome.
Such is the case I am learning in the art of writing children’s books. After all, did not Dr. Seuss write The Cat in the Hat using less than 250 unique words to such international acclaim?
Choosing two scoops of ice cream I would contend, is much easier.
These past few months I have been revising (yet again) a story I originally wrote last August in a fit of inspiration while sitting on my patio on a warm summer evening. What I saw a year ago as a stroke of genius has been nipped and tucked to such an extent that it bears little resemblance to my first manuscript. Such is the life of a children’s author. What a chapter is to a novel is a whole paragraph to a picture book. What is a page in a chapter book is a single sentence in an illustrated story.
Words therefore must be chosen precisely and with care. Much like one must choose an ice cream flavor from a vast array of frozen confections.
Surely (despite more lip-biting and hair-pulling) those sticky spots in my manuscript will soon melt beneath my discerning gaze and exacting vocabulary. Much like the Roasted Cherry and Chocolate Cookie Dough flavors I enjoyed last Saturday.