PiBoIdMo 2013 Comes to an End

SONY DSCPiBoIdMo has come to an end. Which leads to withdrawal. It also leads to realizing one’s strengths and weaknesses, some of which I learned during PiBoIdMo 2013.

1. I can come up with picture book ideas under pressure, while also tending to a middle grade revision.

2. I should not pretend to know what I am doing when trying to baste a turkey on Thanksgiving.

3. The twenty-three-month-old grandson is better equipped to handle Norman the gorilla.

4. I need to volunteer for more hours at the elementary school because the place is ripe with ideas, except when I’ve been asked to read the final chapter of Charlotte’s Web aloud and get emotional. Which also turns a second grade classroom silent, and instantly ceases snack time shenanigans. Twenty-two sets of eyes lock on you, the One Who is Trying Not To Cry when Wilbur says how much he misses Charlotte. This led to a discussion about good writing, and how good writing evokes emotion.

SONY DSC5. I now have a lot of work to do and a number of manuscripts to develop. Thirty-six picture book ideas, to be exact. A dozen show strong promise. I am excited to explore them further.

When I checked in with Norman to see how many picture book ideas he came up with during the month, he handed me his list, every title oddly familiar in a middle grade/young adult kind of way.

Norman, Lost and Found

With a Name Like Norman

The One and Only Norman

Love That Norman

The Absolute Value of Norman

The Thing About Norman

Eleanor & Norman

The Higher Power of Norman

The Year of the Gorilla

One For the Norman’s

See You at Norman’s

Each Little Gorilla that Sings

SONY DSC“Norman, ” I said. “Gorillas do not sing. And is this why my novels are no longer in alphabetical order?”

Norman said I needed to ask his publicist.

“What publicist?”

“That boy wearing the headset, who interviewed me last week. I am too busy to talk, someone in this house needs to stuff the turkey with herbs.”

Which brings me to number two on my list.

For any of you who read my pre-PiBoIdMo postPre-PiBo Day 4: Betsy Devany’s PiBoIdMo Success Story (plus prizes!), two years ago, I was fired from making our Thanksgiving meal. This year, I decided to be brave, with the help of my husband. We brined the turkey ahead of time and then put it in the oven. After a few hours, the bird needed a little help. “I think we have to use the juice in the pan to baste the turkey. Yes, that’s it!” I said. And then I realized I had no idea where the baster was. My husband found it and handed it to me. He left the room to mind the outside grill, which had our ‘back-up’ turkey. I opened the oven door, reached in with the baster and burned the edge of a finger. I slammed the oven door shut, put ice on the now-red spot, and gathered strength to try again.

“I’m going back in,” I called.

He did not hear me.

I put on an oven mitt and picked up the baster. “I can do this, I can do this,” I chanted.

I lifted the foil, sucked up a tube of juice and squirted the turkey. I did it again, and then . . .

The bulb part of the baster pulled away from the tube, which lurched into the oven and dropped to the floor of the very hot oven.

“The Thanksgiving Curse!” I shouted. “Fire, fire!”

My husband was sitting on our back porch, reading the Black Friday ads, with a fire roaring in our fireplace.


He turned toward the kitchen window and waved at me. “Yes, come outside. Isn’t the fire nice?”

“The oven! The baster is melting. Hurry!”

I will say that the baster was not easily retrieved, and required a number of attempts to free it from the oven, at which point it was a charred and melted blob.

But in the end the turkey was moist and delicious, and I did not burn our house down.

Another vote is on the table in regards to how I may or may not be involved with next year’s Thanksgiving meal. I know how I will be voting.

Thank you, Tara Lazar, for another fabulous PiBoIdMo experience. I wish all the participants success as they shape their ideas into marketable stories. I look forward to reading each and every one.

10 thoughts on “PiBoIdMo 2013 Comes to an End

  1. Someone really must invent a better turkey baster, right? Once there is a giant bird in a small oven, there is no room to drizzle those luscious juices. I wound up squirting a full baster of turkey fat onto the back wall of the stove. Let me attest that it lends a slightly smoked, nay charred! flavor to one side of the bird!

    Happy post-PiBoIdMo!

    1. Okay, so my reaction was normal. I get choked up at certain passages in well-written books. Thanks for sharing, Kathy. I head back to the school this morning and hope I’m handed something funny to read aloud.

  2. First: Betsy, your grandson is too adorable for words 🙂

    Second: I have become a very big fan of Norman 🙂

    Third: You need to stay away from the oven and stovetop and anything that involves flame and high temps. The refrigerator and pantry are probably safe. The microwave is questionable.

    Fourth: On a Thanksgiving Day MANY years ago (when I was a wee little thing and wasn’t a part of the cooking end of holidays), the women in my family (my mother, aunts & grandmother) who were also Italian New Yorkers were told this by the sister of my Kentucky-hills-raised uncle, “I hate to say this, but you people do NOT know how to cook a turkey.” (This being said after a night and day of basting every hour.) All you need is a covered roasting pan and a little water. Not kidding, ladies. Since then the turkey cooks in no time at all, is juicy and the covered pan bastes the turkey. This year our turkey was about 17 lbs. (no stuffing inside, we cook it separately now) in that pan on a high oven (I think 425 or 450 degrees—ask if you want to know) cooked thoroughly in about 1 hr. 15 min.

    Love the whole post, Betsy! Can’t wait to read ANYthing you write 😀

  3. Donna, this made me laugh. Love your story from MANY years ago. Thanks so much for sharing! Have a wonderful holiday season.
    P.S. – I am a big Norman fan, too. Something really special about that guy. Kids still ask about him at the toy store, and wonder how he’s doing.

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