In seventh grade, I became a writer. Up until then, I was really good at spelling and grammar. Actually, those were my two favorite subjects. I used those skills to write my first real story in seventh grade English class. It was about a turkey who didn’t want to get eaten for Thanksgiving. I told of the ways he went about avoiding that terrible fate. I didn’t know it was good until my teacher said so. When she told me how much she liked it, I was forever confident in my writing ability. I continued writing about animals from that point on and one particular book I wrote about animals became published in October of 2018.
LITTLE LOKSI(Chickasaw for turtle) started in 2003 as a college class assignment during my schooling to become an elementary teacher. At the time, my 3-year-old son had a peculiar pet turtle that would climb our chain link fence. The turtle didn’t always land on its belly; sometimes it landed on its back. My son would always turn him back over. As I sat and watched Quade delightfully turning him over each time, I wondered to myself how turtles get turned back over in nature? I came up with a theme: Everyone has talents which can help others and the smallest creature could be the biggest help. I put that theme into action and started the writing process.
I thought of other creatures who could help a turtle to turn over. I only had a little time before the assignment had to be turned in, so it wasn’t very long. As a matter of fact, when I turned it in, I had only 4 characters in the book, including the turtle.
After graduating college and becoming an elementary music teacher, I started collecting animal puppets to let the children use in my classroom. I can’t tell you how many times I have laughed to tears or felt chills when a child found his or her creativity while acting out a story with a puppet or two. Acting and writing go hand in hand. Just giving a voice to a character and saying the first thing that pops into your mind is enough to get you started on the creative journey. As a matter of fact, after I became a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, I found out that we call each other “Creatives.” What a fun name!
One day in 2013, my six-year-old son, Jax, and I gathered all of the puppets together. We decided what each could do to help a little turtle to turn back over. He came up with clever ways for a skunk and a porcupine to help. One character even brings an Aesop’s Fable into the story. With lots of teamwork, the story ended up being published with eleven characters.
I immediately got to work on making a play out of the book, then wrote another book which tells the backstory of the Hare in The Tortoise and the Hare. After submitting that book, a friend and I made a play combining both stories. I will be directing the play at a fine arts summer camp in June. I believe everyone can play a part in some aspect of the production. So, there will be approximately 50 kids in our area who will get to experience that special feeling of being creative.
I, as well as many others I have met, did not know that books have trailers. I leave you with a link to the trailer for my book, Little Loksi. It took much creativity on the part of Chickasaw/White Dog Press to make this trailer. There are many forms of talent. I hope you all find your own and use it to make the world a better place.