What a title, eh? I know! Craziness has ensued! Let me explain.
One Heck of a Great Time
This past weekend was the Children’s Art and Literacy Festival (C.A.L.F.) in my home town of Abilene, Texas. It was one heck of a great time! William Joyce was the guest of honor! Yes! The William Joyce, author of many, many books. Yes! The William Joyce with movies based on his books—Rise of the Guardians and Epic just to name a couple. Yes! The William Joyce who, along with Co-director Brandon Oldenburg, was awarded the Oscar® for Best Animated Short Film in the 84th Academy Awards®. If you haven’t viewed this work of art, you must! Your heart will warm 🙂
So what’s that got to do with Hail? Hell! Well . . .
I had just watched a parade with participants dressed as William Joyce’s characters from his many books! I was sitting in the historic Paramount Theater waiting for William Joyce to begin his talk on his creative process and then PING! PING! DRUM! DRUM! CLUNK! CLUNK! PELT! PELT! BEAT! BEAT! BOOM! BOOM!
“Is that hail?” I asked the two young ladies behind me.
“YES!” They answered.
And it was! (Photos to follow.)
But did I panic? No! What were a few pings on my car compared to hearing William Joyce??? It was too late anyway. What was done was done. Plus, I couldn’t leave and get hammered on the head! And I was already caught up in the whole excitement of children’s literature . . .The almost magic take-me-away-imagination feeling you get when hearing or reading a good story.
William Joyce was wonderful and inspiring. He is definitely a take-me-away-imagination kind of guy! His love for children’s literature was evident. His excitement was contagious as he told of how his fledgling Moonbot Studios was up against what seemed like impossible odds of winning an Oscar®. He talked about hard work and how important it is to keep on trying. If you want to see contagious excitement, watch this acceptance speech!
So in spite of the hail, I was having one heck of a great time!
The smile was still on my face as I headed the 6 or so blocks to where my car was parked. My head still in that take-me-away-imagination mode. But as I walked through the war-zone that our downtown had become, my smile became a nod of my head here and an expression of concern there. Cars were everything from pinged with cracked windshields to completely destroyed. Hailstones from an hour and a half earlier were still laying unmelted on the ground. The ground had holes in it! I wondered about my car. Was it pinged and cracked? Destroyed?
Yep! I said it! I saw my car and I said Hell! Not so much in the cursing kind of way (good thing as it was parked in front of the First Baptist Church), but more in the utter amazement type of way.
I was definitely in the destroyed category.
But you know what? What’s done IS done! And what good would it be to ruin a perfectly wonderful evening by getting upset. So I called my husband but couldn’t get him due to cell service interruption. Then the nicest young couple offered me a ride home!
We went back to my car, swept glass, and laid down towels so that my husband could drive the car to our garage. And there it sat while I enjoyed two more days of book signings, balloon sculptures, and bright-eyed children.
So what is my point and what does it have to do with children’s writers? I guess it is just that life happened during our annual Children’s Arts and Literature Festival. And it was kind of hellish! Lots of people were short a car or two. But the whole town was smiling all because of a wonderful man with a wonderful imagination who writes wonderful books. No hailing on our parade. No ruining our heck of a great time! Just a celebration of take-me-away-imagination!
Footnote: One other bonus of the festival is that I met the nicest couple. I estimate they were in their late 70’s to early 80’s. I think I was drawn to her at the parade because her obvious excitement during the parade equaled mine. I just had to meet her! I said, “You must love children’s literature!” And that led to a visit with her and her husband. He had given her a William Joyce book a couple of years ago. They drove all the way from Florida to attend the festival because she is such a fan of William Joyce. They were lovely. By the end of the evening, we had exchanged addresses, emails, and names! I saw them the next day and we hugged like old friends! All because of celebrating children’s literature.
Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is coming from Random House Children’s Publishing Fall 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her blog HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.