Monday, February 11, 2008

My Future as a Children's Book Co-Author

I once plagiarized the entire Neverending Story movie plot and gave my whole extended family his or her own personal typed copy of my 14-page short story. It received wide acclaim, but the guilt was too much. I didn't write another word for the next ten years.

Recently, I've considered doing a collaborative effort with my seven year-old cousin in which I plan to use her youthful imagination and cuteness to write a successful children's book. The longer I wait to do this, the less cute it will become. I think it would be kind of a neat idea because kids have a lot more imagination than embittered twenty-three year olds. Though I have yet to put crayon to construction paper, here is an excerpt from my imagined interview with The New Yorker announcing its publication:

Handsome interviewer from New Yorker trying to hide his attraction to me:
What prompted you to make a collaborative work with seven year-old Katarina?

Me: Well she's brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I've seen her work in some of the kindergarten publications and well … it just blew all the other riff-raff out of the water.

NY: What has it been like working with Kata?

Me: It's been kind of tough to find the time, you know? I have a nine to five and Katarina has gymnastics, tennis, swimming, Chinese lessons, ice skating, baseball, kickboxing, and tae kwon do. She also gives weekend seminars on origami and fire safety. I have a very strict napping schedule I like to stick to. So it's hard to get together, but it's really great when we're able to.

NY: How do you expect that the book will be received by readers? It has gotten terrific marks among reviewers.

Me: Well I think the first thing they will notice is that Kata is very cute. We've put a photo of her at six years dressed as a cat for Halloween on the back of the book jacket to demonstrate this. We've also taken the liberty of including several pictures of her doing adorable things like wearing a hat that is clearly too large for her, sitting inside of a bucket, and petting a very cute dachshund. She's cute as a button and I hope that readers of the book will let that cloud their judgment. They may also notice that the book smells a bit like licorice. I really hope people notice this because it turned out to be a lot harder to accomplish than we expected.

NY: What words do you think critics will be using to describe this work?

Me: I don't doubt we'll hear "ground-breaking." People have a tendency to call things ground-breaking whether any ground has actually been broken, or if they've actually just sort of tripped over something on the ground, like a rock. This book is no exception. Maybe also chart-topping and rip-roaring. Sensational. Reasonably priced. Adequate.

NY: Well it was a pleasure meeting with you. You have great hair. Are you free next Friday?

Hopefully we can get the ball rolling on this project soon so that I can just sit back and wait for my checks to come in. But I might have to wait until skiing season is over so her free time isn't taken up by downhill racing lessons. I'm open to any plot suggestions or character ideas. A talking umbrella? Toaster who dreams of making it on Broadway? I'm not an "idea" person, so this isn't my job. That's what the kid is for.

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