Tuesday, November 22, 2022

We saw 42 stars


Ever since Daylight Saving Time started, Hudson wakes up at 5:30 instead of 6:30.

If it's not too cold, we take Whiskey for a short walk before the sun comes up. 

The other morning he was up at 5:15, and the sky was still dark. We saw 42 stars, which is a lot for New York City. 

Looking at the sky reminds us how big the universe is, and how lucky we are to be here, even if for a cosmic nanosecond.

Hudson is this tiny little collection of DNA molecules, and what are the odds of him being here? And yet, here he is. Here we are. All we can do is smile and declare victory.

Book news:

  • My daughter Samantha is going with me to Pennsylvania this weekend for the Keystone Literacy Association conference. Library Books Are Not for Eating won an award! And Hershey Lodge has an indoor waterpark! (Jo and Hudson decided to stay home--too much Thanksgiving travel.)

  • Love is a Story is the first book in the universe dedicated to Hudson ("For Hudson, whose story has just begun"). Coming January 3.
  •  Leprechaun vs. Easter Bunny hops your way in February.
  • Wacky Weather, a Cat in the Hat Learning Library book, makes landfall sometime in 2023.
  • I just finished the manuscript for another Cat in the Hat Learning Library book, Oh, the Ways we Go! Go! Go! It's about the history of transportation. It will be transported to bookstores in 2024.
  • Finally, a Chinese-language version of Three Grumpy Trucks is coming soon. But you have to go to China.

Thanks for coming here to read my semi-annual post. Hope you're doing well. Smile and declare victory.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Let's catch up!

 As you may have heard from the universe, I am a new father.

Let me tell you, there is nothing in the world as great as being a new father. The sky is blue. The world is wonderful. We are doing our part to perpetuate the human race, counterbalance evil in the world, and eradicate racism (if everyone in the world would just have mixed-race babies, we could all stop shouting and be kind to each other--like in Sneetches).

But let's get to the new books.

First up, Love is a Story hits shelves in December.

I wrote most of it on an airplane--and you know how you sometimes get more emotional on airplanes? Or is it just me? I'm typing on my laptop, "Love is a castle / that's made from the sand / of an ocean that's older than time," and thinking, "Oh, man, that's good," while simultaneously beginning to heave uncontrollably.

Leprechaun vs. Easter Bunny is coming in Spring 2023. Not sure I'm allowed to share details yet, but I'd describe it as a Quentin Tarantino story arc for toddlers.

Finally, two more Cat in the Hat Learning Library titles, one in 2023 and one in 2024. I hope to keep channeling my inner Dr. Seuss for the foreseeable future.

Summer is coming. The sky is blue. The world is wonderful. Here's to children and children's books. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Dear universe

Yeah, me again. 

I think we both know that you and I are never going to be best friends.

But it doesn't escape me that matter and energy and electrons and protons can interact in interesting ways. Even amidst your ever-increasing entropy, you manage to create some really amazing things.

You don't care and I know you don't care. We humans are just along for the ride, blinking in and out of existence every 80 years or so, like fireflies on a summer ballfield.

But, okay. Those blips and blinks mean something. At least to us fireflies. And least while we're here.

So for now, I just want to say...thank you.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Ready, set...

I'm sitting in a chair in a hospital room, next to my sleeping wife. It snowed sometime between when we arrived at 1 AM and now, at 9 AM, so there is a light frosting on the rooftops outside the window. 

The contractions are here, but still moderate. 

Maybe another eight hours. Maybe sixteen.

My parents are back at our house, anxiously awaiting my texts. Samantha and Ethan are surely still asleep.

We were talking last night at our early Christmas dinner about when my family moved to Colorado when I was in sixth grade. My dad started a truck and trailer dealership, and my brother and I worked there during the summers. Two of the employees that I remember passed away long ago. I asked my dad about a third. Dead too.

When we were in the waiting room late last night, I told Jo that life is so fleeting. It keeps moving forward. You have to keep moving forward, too, because there's no backwards and no pause.

It was not a sad thought. 

Life is what we make of it, and what it makes of us. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Dear Universe: We're having a baby

That's right. You might want to write that down, because I know you're 14 billion years old and probably starting to forget some things.

I'll repeat it for you.

We're. Having. A. Baby.

When I was younger I envisioned that you were my enemy--you were the God of the Old Testament, or the people who believed in such things, or social conformity generally, or any kind of authority generally. 

"Only the Good Die Young." "I Fight Authority, Authority Always Wins." "Running Against the Wind."

I liked to say that the goal of life isn't to win, it's to get in one good punch.

I'm not as hostile to you as I once was. Whatever remnants were left ended at fatherhood. 

I still believe it's noble to run against the wind. But you can't just be against things forever. Eventually you have to be for something. Otherwise you're just an angry anarchist. Or a Republican. You have to put in the effort to find the wind that's blowing the direction you want to go, then run with it. 

In any event, Universe, my primary feeling in life is no longer anger, but gratitude. I wouldn't say I'm grateful to you, because that doesn't mean anything to me. I don't think you're anthropomorphic, or intervening in the daily lives of humans, or inherently good or bad. You're just the universe. I'll even give you a capital U. You're very big. Humans are very small. Our lives are very short.

But we can be grateful without being obsequious. Or groveling. Or fearful. Or imagining that we have to wear a certain clothes or chant Latin phrases or avoid certain foods or throw virgins into volcanoes to win your favor. Blah.

I'm grateful for every day my heart still beats. Grateful for my wife, my kids, my family. 

I'm gonna be a dad for the third time. Did I mention that? Look in your notes. I'm so grateful for that.

I agree with Carl Sandburg that babies are God's opinion that life should go on. Of all the things I have done or will do in my life, the most gratifying is being a father and husband. 

We all start out thinking we're the center of the universe. We eventually realize that's not the case. For those who haven't realized it until that point, fatherhood is a good tipping point. Fatherhood is creating--and being responsible for--something more important than you, something you'd give up your own too-short life for. 

So, Universe.

You've thrown some shit my way. No complaints. We're good.

But I gotta say, I'm stifling a teensy smile right now, because I feel like I just landed a really good punch.


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Book update

We've had a good first half of 2021.

My five "Dr. Seuss" books were published over the past six months, and the board book version of "Three Grumpy Trucks" came out in May. All six are selling well.

I have one more Cat in the Hat Learning Library title coming out in 2022. I can't say what the future holds for writing more Seuss books after that, but I'll keep pitching.

I have two additional books that will be published in 2022 or 2023. One is about a leprechaun and the Easter Bunny. The other is simply about love, and is one of my favorite manuscripts.

Having finished a first draft of my first attempt at a novel, I've set it aside for a few months to attempt a first draft of another. I'll get the hang of it eventually.

I think I've made it pretty clear that it's tough to make a living writing children's books unless you live in a yurt in rural Kyrgyzstan. We live down the block from Jerry Seinfeld, so it's unlikely I'll ever support the family with my creative endeavors. Never say never.

To be clear, it's never annoying to get a check.

In non-book news, the Iowa Hawkeyes are NCAA wrestling champs. Jo has a new job--and I'm still employed. Samantha is doing great, and Ethan is home for the summer. Knock wood, the pandemic is finally behind us.

We are grateful.