Picture Book

I haven’t slept much the past few nights.

My mind and emotions about work are all over the map, and I end up laying awake churning through it all.  Panic, confusion, despair, anger, fear, sadness, hurt, resignation…it all spins around inside my head and heart and I can’t settle it enough to get much rest.

It’s very draining.

And it’s the weekend, so it’s not like I can do anything practical about any of it, anyway.  None of what’s spinning inside me is real yet – it’s all just hypothetical scenarios running through my exhausted brain and making it all feel more desperate than ever.  Tomorrow is Monday, so it’ll all become real then.  But for now, it’s completely out of control.

Well, almost completely.

I’ve been trying to keep busy while I’m awake. It’s easier to distract myself  with actual activities.  I still spend more time than I’d like to in tears, but when I actually manage to focus on something else, it’s easier to maintain that focus for longer than I can when I am trying to sleep.

Yesterday I wrote the first draft of a potential picture book for kiddos.  I had a ridiculous amount of fun doing it, and spent some time afterward still trying to think in rhythm and rhyme.  At one point I reminded myself of that scene in The Princess Bride.  You know the one.

“No more rhymes, now, I mean it!”

“Anybody want a peanut?”

Classic.

Anyway, the point is, writing took my mind off my current situation, and the fact that it was fun made it even better.  I was remembering a poetry unit I helped teach a grade 8 class when I was practice teaching back in school.  I got to do haiku with them, and some of the kids decided we should try to have whole conversations in haiku, and it was hilarious! They got really good at it, too.  So last night, by the time I was getting dinner for the fur babies, I was thinking in rhyme and reading the draft of the book to them (mostly Brody, but Piper got draft #2 read to her a few times already today), and I was smiling instead of crying.  The feeling didn’t last, of course, but it definitely helped.

Now I’ve been awake since 4am, but I’ve walked Brody a couple of times, had something to eat, and completed the book’s second draft.  I liked it last night, and love how it’s coming together today.  I got the rhyme pattern worked out, and established the number of syllables per line.  I feel like there are still a couple of more awkward-sounding spots – lines that don’t flow as smoothly as I’d like – but overall I am quite pleased with how well it’s coming together.

My initial plan for the book’s structure was a bit different, and even as I was assembling it last night I wasn’t sure which way I’d go with it, but a lot of it pretty much wrote itself, so I’ve decided not to mess with that.  Plus, it’s fun to read out loud.  I just have to tweak it a bit more to get it to flow better.  But I already have some picture ideas in my head and I feel like, all things considered, it’s coming along very well, and has provided an unexpected and wonderful distraction for my otherwise anxious mind!

 

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