The whole predicament started innocently. I asked a question and got an answer. Little did I know a super hero would mire me down in a project I am seriously desperate to finish. I have learned when you make a promise involving a super hero, it isn’t always easy to keep it.
We were out back, my grandchildren and I, and my granddaughter Kayla was swinging. When she and her brother head for the gym set, we always chant the first verse of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “The Swing.” It’s pure delight, that rhythmical rhyming piece, and I think it’s the greatest accomplishment ever when a writer brings joy to a child.
I don’t remember exactly how we got on the subject of writing, but at some point that day Kayla asked me something in response to a question. She knows I’m a writer, and she knows I’m writing and editing a collection of children’s poems. I asked her what kind of poem she’d like me to write for her.
“A super hero poem!” she exclaimed.
“Of course,” I promised.
I’ve always been about keeping promises. Little did I know how hard it would be to keep that one.
My manuscript has gone very smoothly for much of my first formal journey into kiddie lit. Until now.
In this collection I include a number of poems I wrote for my children as they grew. I wrote new ones for my grandchildren Kayla and Dylan. I have poems about riding an imaginary horse, about the time our Labrador retriever was lost, about what herbs in the garden do for food and body. I even have a poem about washing your hands.
I do not have a poem about a super hero.
I’ve tossed ideas around in my mind for weeks. Do I make up a hero of my own? Do I do it allegory style and illustrate how an average person in your life can, like my own grandmothers and mother, be a superhero? Do I come up with a super hero who is comical and fails? I don’t know.
Maybe it’s a result of working on a manuscript of verse that rhymes and has meter, but interfering with this project is an outpouring of poetry, adult level, that I suppose was repressed when I ventured into writing politics. Politics almost killed that poetry, and I am glad to have left the Beltway behind.
I’ve produced writing content in such quantity I have forgotten a lot of what I wrote. I come across it in boxes in the garage and at times I have to focus to recall the circumstances of different compositions. I freelanced fulltime for more than three decades, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Some projects required every ounce of intellect and energy I had, while others demanded patience with picky editors on a level you normally employ with a toddler.
Producing hundreds of projects each year, I’d never been mired down in a writing project, never had writer’s block.
Until now. Blasted super hero. I plan to take him down soon via my wits and my pen. For Kayla.
(Kay B. Day/October 13, 2020)
The new Web is weighted towards big partisan media outlets, not small publishers. The only way we can stay online is by relying on the support of our readers.