Sunday, December 16, 2007

Frosty the neighborhood

A thin coating of snow, announced repeatedly through the night by the scrape of snow plow blades along the street. It's not snowing now. We are promised sleet, rain, ice - miserable whether you drive or just shuffle along the slippery sidewalk. A day for staying inside, wrapping Christmas gifts, ordering more online, calculating which websites still offer shipping in time for the holiday.

I found something, the perfect gift, and I'm too late. I think I'll do it anyway, as this is a gift I need to ship myself to relatives across the country, and it can follow my other gifts, like a sweet dessert. Check it out. You download their software, which is a basic desktop publishing product with defined templates to create your own books: photo books, travel books, scrapbooks, cookbooks, etc. But the beauty is that you then upload them to the site and order professionally printed copies (in hardcover or softcover) for reasonable prices. And it's quality - I saw a sample at work.

My immediate scheme was to create a children's book for my nephew using pictures that I've taken of him over the years. A story about his adventures in Brooklyn. I think it will be fun when it's finished. It reminds me in a sad, oh-god-I'm-so-old way, of a book we ordered for his father, my youngest brother, when he was about the same age. It was sold in one of those mall kiosks, and you filled out a form with simple information - child's name, sibling's name, street name, pet name, etc. The company then dropped the names into a cheesy looking typed page that was bound opposite generic illustrations. I think it took 4-6 weeks for delivery. My mom still has the book.

I'm rushing to finish this one for Christmas, and I think the beauty is the photographs (mostly nice ones that my brother took at the aquarium, although a few that I took in a local park.) The story itself, the text, is bothering me because it seems boring in and of itself. I used to think writing children's books would be easy, and then years ago I took a course, and realized how difficult it can be. You have few words - both in number and accessibility - to tell a tale that needs to engage a reader with an even shorter attention span than yours.

So I'll finish the book today. And wrap some presents. And maybe do some additional packing - I'm still hesitant to move forward too quickly, because even though things are moving along with the new coop, nothing is yet solid. We're in the appraisal stage, preparation for the bank to issue a commitment letter, and then I can send my application to the board. Then my heart will jump into my throat and remain there until I'm approved.

I want to go to the gym this morning, but I imagine that the weather will slow down its opening (they tend to be late on a perfect day), so am not racing out the door for 8 am.


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