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.
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
Norman said I needed to ask his 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.