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The "Bad" Picture Book Blog Hop: Beginnings and Endings

February 19, 2015

If you write one story it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor."

                                        ~Edgar Rice Burroughs

Wednesday, February 18: four days post Valentine's Day; day eight of the "Bad" Picture Book Blog Hop; and, the last day of said blog: I am your final hop. I get to be the ending.


            In the beginning, Dani Duck, artist obscure and orchestrator of this blog hop, extended an invitation to writers and illustrators to post some of their work from high school or earlier. She referred to the work as “Bad”, as chances were, it was – though not by kid standards, of course. Marcie Colleen even referred to her “bad” work as the seeds of her beginnings. I kinda like that.


            *For seven days you have been hopping about checking out the beginnings of several published authors/illustrators and several who dream of publication: I am one of the dreamers.


            Hopping from one site to another, it occurred to me that published or not our writerly/artistic beginnings were much the same. Our writerly beginnings often commenced somewhere about the age of 8 or 9 and our artistic beginnings often earlier than that. And, we were all AMAZING! Not bad -- AMAZING! At least we thought so – and so also did our parents, teachers, grandparents....


            Alas, we grew up and the expectations shifted. We have come to learn that what was amazing then is, by publication standards, BAD -- crappy bad. Afterall,


"You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crappy stuff and thinking it is good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it."                              ~ Octavia Butler


          Since high school, I have written more good-crappy-stuff. But this blog is not about that, it’s about the archives. Retrieving my great literary masterpieces, circa '72, '73, '74, and '82, from the bowels of the basement, I danced. I loved those stories, I loved writing them, illustrating them, having them bound and reading them aloud to anyone who would listen. Now, three years into some intense exposure on writing for children, I had to laugh.


            These old manuscripts were funny. Not Melissa McCarthy funny. Not Jim Carey funny. Nope, they were so bad they were funny. Between the two chapter books and six picture books I had written, I had managed to violate almost every rule I have now come to associate with good writing. Other than reading, drawing, and writing often, I was, well, a pretty bad writer. But, I was only a kid and I was just beginning -- and that was a good thing, an AWESOME THING. Kids as writers are awesome. And, as Margaret Atwood stated,


"Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there were no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones."


  So, without further adieu, I present to you a story, some art, and some endings.


The Invisible Man

Written and Illustrated


Teresa Marie Ingram

1973, age 9