Books verses Stories

conversations with hank


Hank: Whattcha writing, mama?

Me: I am working on my ladybug story.

Hank: Can I hear it?

Me: It’s not done. I only have the beginning.

Hank: That’s ok. (putting down Xbox controller)

Me: Alright, but I want an honest opinion at the end.

Hank: Sure. (sitting on the edge of the couch)

Me: Lavender the ladybug was house hunting.
She had been for days,
That was until right this very instant.
She had a promising lead.

The Neighborhood was good.
Right across the road from a large field
Flooded with wild lupine, clover
And most probably poppy in the summer months.
Neighbored by tended allotments
And crumbling cottages long left to the elements.

Yes, Lavender had just about made up her mind about this place
Save one thing,
The house wasn’t a cracked, neglected flower pot or an old tree trunk,
It wasn’t a mound of tufted grass or a rick of rattan
It was a stone wall
And no ladybug of her acquaintance had ever lived in a wall.

Hank: (pause)

Me: (looking up)

Hank: You’ve told me about this ladybug before on the way to our garden.

Me: I have.

Hank: I didn’t know her name was Lavender.

Me: Neither did I. That came out in the writing.

Hank: I like how when you tell me a story it is much different when you write it. It sounds like… (thinking) It sounds like a book when you write it and a story when you tell it.

Me: (smiling, soaking it all in)

Hank: Keep working, my mama. (retrieving the Xbox controller)

Me: (typing away)


Embrace the Weird

conversations with hank


Me: Helllllooooo little Molly McGoooooo!

Molly: (Huge smile, happy as a squirrel)

Me: (picking her up from her crib) Yes! I love (sniff) ewwwwww. Wow! Oh GAWD.

Hank: What is it?

Me: Your sister. (making the face of something smells bad)

Hank: What’s wrong.

Me: She smells terrible.

Hank: (giggling)

Me: Oh man. (walking to the changing table)

Hank: She pooped didn’t she?

Me: Either that or she has spoiled and we need to take her to the doctor for tests.

Hank: (giggling) It’s normal.

Molly: (super cute and smiling)

Me: Yes and no. Your sister smells like hot poop soup. (shuddering) I don’t think I can change this one.

Hank: You can do it, mama!

Me: (completely grossed out) Oh good lord, Amália. What did you eat? I can’t. Hank, you do it.

Hank: (getting a chair) We will do it together.

Me: I just don’t’ understand the level of funk that flows out this child.

Hank: Mama, stop. Open the diaper.

Me: (taking a deep breath) You’re right. Embrace the weird. Everyone has something weird about them, right? (opening the diaper)

Hank and I together: Ewwwwwwwwwww

Molly: (looking concerned then deciding against it and going back to giddy)

Me: I have my weird ability to remember stories, songs and faces. (practically gagging) Molly can clear a room with her farts. What’s your weird, Hank?

Hank: (thinking, handing me diaper wipes) Maybe… I don’t know. Maybe it is smells because this diaper doesn’t bother me at all. I know it is gross, but I can handle it.

Me: Yup. That is weird.

Hank: (to Molly) Hot poop soup doesn’t bother me. Nope. No, it doesn’t McGoo.

Molly: (utterly in love with her brother’s attention)

Me: Awesome. Embrace the weird by taking this diaper to the laundry room for me then.


Next Book?

conversations with hank


Hank: Mama, Papa says he is taking the iPad 2 to get fixed tomorrow.

Me: Yup. We have officially saved the money to get the screen replaced.

Hank: And you neeeeeeed the iPad 2 for work.

Me: Yes. I use the iPad to read my books.  Now I can finally have my book reading at your school and launch Shoe Mice. I have been talking to some people about making an event where we make shoe mice and magic and read the story. And I think I will call the English speaking schools in Braga and Porto.

Hank: I love this. (pause) When is your next new book coming out, mama?

Me: I don’t actually know.

Hank: But you have lots of books.

Me: That I do.

Hank: I don’t understand.

Me: My contract with my publisher was for two books. Those books were Billy Blankenstooth and Shoe Mice. Now I need to sign a new contract.

Hank: Oh that is easy.

Me: (smiling) Until then I will keep writing and writing and writing.

Hank: (thinking) Mama, can I realize your next story?

Me: Nope, but you can realize your own story and I will help you.

Hank: Really?

Me: Always.