31 January 2013

Paperback Writer?

Can I just tell you that I've always wanted to be a writer?
In elementary school, when we were assigned to write out sentences using our spelling words, mine told a story. One time one of my teachers told me to stop being so silly (because the story that week was about a bunch of farm animals, and I named one of them LL Cow J [yes, I did grow up in the 90s, why do you ask?]).
Talk about a creativity stifler.
In fifth grade, my teacher introduced me to one of my favorite books of all time. It's called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, and was written by Chris Van Allsburg, who also wrote the better-known Jumanji and The Polar Express.
The book consists of fourteen pictures, each with a title and short caption. Van Allsburg explains in the introduction that the pictures were given to an editor he knew, by a man named Harris Burdick. Mr. Burdick asked the editor if he would be interested in publishing the stories that went along with each picture. When the editor said he'd be very interested, Mr. Burdick promised to return the next day with the rest of the stories.
But he never came back.

Okay, well, that was sixteen years ago, and I'm still not sure if that part is true or not.
During creative writing time, my fifth grade teacher would sometimes hand out copies of the pictures from the book, and ask us to write stories based on the pictures and captions. Those were my favorite creative writing days. Here's one of the pictures I chose:

And here's the one that inspired what became my NaNoWriMo novel in 2011 (It's also the cover of the book):

Last week, I was trying (with no success) to remember the title of Lemony Snicket's new book so I could reserve it at the library. I tried an author search instead, knowing I'd have to scroll through all those darn Series of Unfortunate Events books before I found the new one I wanted. But look what I found instead:

Lemony Snicket wrote the introduction to a book of stories based on the pictures from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick
Real authors wrote stories to go along with the pictures and captions, just like I had done! I had to have that book. Surprisingly (not), no one had it checked out, so I was able to pick it up right away.
I just finished reading it this afternoon, and it was every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be. My lifelong obsession with Harris Burdick and his mysteries has been satisfied. Some of my favorite authors, like Lois Lowry and Louis Sachar, wrote stories! Even Stephen King and his wife, Tabitha, each wrote a story!
I feel like a little part of my life is complete.
And Lemony Snicket's introduction made me laugh out loud.

09 January 2013

So this is the New Year

Before I say anything else, let me just tell you that I found the pickle ornament again this year.
Now that we live in Wyoming, we get to see Ryan's family a lot more often than when we lived in Utah. For the first time since we were married, we got to spend time with them near Christmas, which was so nice. It's very important to Ryan and I that our boys know and love their cousins, and I really treasure those moments that they get to play together. It was wonderful to sit around Rusty and Chrissy's Christmas tree and spend time with the "other Reynolds". The boys were completely spoiled, as were Ryan and I. We spent Christmas Day at my parents' home, with my sister on her practically non-existent break from vet school. Cassi and my mom spent a significant amount of time being sick, which was good because Cassi got to lay around and have a Doctor Who marathon without feeling guilty, but bad because we didn't get to do all the exciting things we wanted to do with her, like sledding at White Sands, watching The Hobbit, and making the pilgrimage to Sparky's for green chile cheeseburgers (I guess Cass could have had a veggie burger). We still had a lovely time, and like always my parents spoiled us with presents, good food, and free babysitting. By the way, The Hobbit was better than the book (surprise). Tolkien-lovers are free to hate on me, but the fact is that his prose sometimes drives me to distraction. Anyways...
Like everyone else does in the month of January, we made New Year's resolutions. We're typically pretty terrible at these, so little hope there. At least our health insurance company provides incentives for us to keep 6 goals a year. Ryan is weighing himself every morning for this bimonthly goal, and I am going to bed by 11pm. So I better skedaddle. More to come!