Every Childlike Author needs a Playground.

WELCOME TO THE PLAYGROUND!

Unfortunately, The Playground will be empty for a while. The Childlike Author is building a new sand castle on a beach somewhere, but will return in a few months time. He invites you to join in on his roaming play when he returns.

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Stick Figures and their Derivatives

Primitive Stick Figures Hunting Deer.

Primitive Stick Figures Hunting Deer.

If you’ve ever read The Adventure of the Dancing Men, or if you’ve ever seen a primitive cave drawing (and I know you have since an image of some cave art is located right above this paragraph), then you will know that stick figures have been around for a very long time. Some of the first things we draw as a small child, doodling in the empty pages of our mother’s little black book which she gave us to keep us occupied while waiting at the doctor’s office, waiting for the car to be repaired at the shop, waiting for that old guy in the starched white-collar and black suit coat to hurry up and finish his speech so we can go out and play—some of the first things we draw are stick figures. Read the rest of this page »

The Childlike Author is Still Alive… Because of Soccer

world-cup-2014

As many of you are probably aware, the World Cup has started. Either you’re a soccer fan and you already knew that (because soccer), or you’re living anywhere but the barren wastelands of the Sahara or Siberia deserts. If you weren’t in the middle of the Sahara or frozen in Siberia like some sort of hermit (not the crab), you’ve probably heard words like “Brazil” and “football” and “World Cup” and “soccer” everywhere you’ve physically gone, or maybe you’ve seen them written all over the Internet for several days running. So, really, I think what I’m trying to say is that if you haven’t heard of this year’s World Cup, you’re either a deaf-blind or a time-traveler from prehistoric pre-Internet days.

But you’re none of those things, because 1) if you’re reading this then you’re on the Internet and not blind, and 2) if you’re hearing it read to you, then you’re not deaf. Which means you, my reader and listener, have heard of the World Cup. (Also, I just told you about the World Cup, so there’s that.)

Why am I telling you about the World Cup, you ask? (Okay, maybe you’re not asking that. Maybe you figured I’m telling you because the World Cup started two days ago and most everybody’s talking about it. Well, yes, that’s true, but why do you have to be so technical all the time? I’m just using the phrase as a rhetorical device. It’s a rhetorical question within a rhetorical question, sort of like Inception except way more boring and way easier to understand. Besides, you weren’t actually supposed to answer or tell me that you weren’t asking the question I put in your mouth for rhetorical reasons, and frankly,  I should be allowed to put whatever I want in your mouth maybe you should just “pretend” that you asked me why I was telling you about the World Cup. Sheesh. It’s as if you’ve never heard of imagination, or never had a childhood.)

Anyway, the reason I’m telling you about the World Cup is because it’s so darn incapacitating. Which is how I discovered I was still alive. How are discovering life and incapacitation related, you ask? (Oh, gee. Not this again. Didn’t I already tell you this was like the rhetorical version of invading another person’s dreams? What more explanation can I give you? Just pretend you understand, and maybe you’ll fool your friends start to pick up on things.) To answer that question, for the past two days I have literally done nothing except watch people kick a ball up and down a field of grass and sometimes into a net. Two full days of watching soccer, and that… is… it.

And it has totally incapacitated my ability and will to write. Because soccer.

For those of you who follow The Playground, you know that I either died or that I took a temporary hiatus from posting new articles in order to procrastinate elsewhere in order to focus all of my energies on writing my book. I can attest to the fact that I have not focused all of my energies on writing said book, which, via logic, leaves only the “died” option. Ergo, for a while I was dead.

But that all changed when the Fire Nation attacked when the World Cup started.

My pure excitement over watching the World Cup has sapped the time which I usually spend trying to find the time to spend writing my book. Thus, I am not getting any writing done because I’m squandereing I’m better employing the time I usually use to find more time to write. So I figured since the World Cup is preventing me from doing what I said I’d be doing while I was away from The Playground, I might as well make a short appearance and write a few posts for my readers.

And, since I’ve made my appearance now, it’s clear that I’m not dead after all.

Which is quite a relief, in my opinion.

As a result I now owe my life to the game of soccer, and I should probably watch more of it to show my gratitude.

It’s the only honorable thing to do.

P.S. Go USA! Beat Ghana!

UPDATE: USA went, and beat Ghana, 2-1. Revenge is a sweet, sweet dish.

Recess from Eternal Recess

The Childlike Author is taking a short, few months break from The Playground to concentrate his time and effort on writng the rest of his book building a sand castle. It is rather like a recess from an eternal recess, since he is really just playing somewhere else for a bit. Do not cry. He will be back to play hide-n-seek soon enough.

The Author of “The Farting Princess and the Brave Prince” Needs Help!

Today’s post is going to be shortish (Hooray!), but not particularly funny (Drat!). First, I’d like to draw your attention to the new update schedule for The Playground, which will now update every Tuesday and Friday instead of every Tuesday and Thursday (and sometimes Saturday). I have several reasons for the change, the main one being that I was a day late for both of the last posts I need a bit more time to imagine and create better content for you, my readers. Plus I can do whatever I want on my blog, so suck it up. Thursdays are just a little too close to Tuesdays for me to work effectively, in my opinion.

Second, a friend and writing colleague of mine needs help. His name is Harvey Seibel, and he is the notorious author of The Farting Princess and the Brave Prince, which has been mentioned on this blog before, albeit briefly. He has finished several books already, which is more than my zero finished books, so I hate him writing primarily in the children’s fantasy genre, with such titles as The Enchanted Kingdom…

The Enchanted Kingdom

 Andy Andrews and the Adventure of the 13th Princess…

The picture is a bit grainy. It looks better in person.

The picture is a bit grainy. It looks better in person.

or titles like Dishwashers Inc., and Tamar and the Camera from Morocco, along with a delightful collection of short stories titled Me and Poophead Penelope…

He's got a bit of a recurring theme, it seems (farting, poop, princesses).

He’s got a bit of a recurring theme, it seems (farting, poop, princesses).

His latest novel is titled Born Lucky, and, in his own words, is about “one very unlucky guy.” It’s an entertaining read, and he’s all set to get it into print except for one problem.

He needs a book cover.

Well, actually he’s got like sixty book covers, but he can’t decide which one he wants. He’s narrowed it down to the number of fingers on his right hand (seven) but would like input from more people because he wants to choose the best cover he possibly can.

And that’s where you come in!

His top five designs (I may have exaggerated about the number of fingers on his right hand) are up on a poll, waiting for your votes to be cast. All you have to do is follow this link here or maybe this link or even THIS LINK, and take ten or fifteen seconds to rate each design or even just your favorite design. Any little feedback helps, and a lot of feedback helps more. You can rate just one, or all of them, or even provide comments on the designs. If you wanted to, you could even sign up to see which design wins at the end of the polling period. And if none of those links above worked for you, here is the full link, which you can either click on or copy and paste into your web browser: https://99designs.com/book-cover-design/vote-7miqrd

Whatever you do, no matter how small, Harvey would love to see your opinions. So click on those links and get voting! It’s not everyday you get to help choose a book cover!

And for good measure, here’s the link to the Born Lucky design poll one last time. The author of The Farting Princess and the Brave Prince needs your help, so please take a few seconds to vote if you can! https://99designs.com/book-cover-design/vote-7miqrd


On a related note, if any of Harvey’s book titles piqued your interest and you couldn’t find a way to purchase them via the Interweb, that’s because they’re not on the Interweb (yet). If you do want to purchase a copy of any titles mentioned, please email me at thechildlikeauthor@hotmail.com and I will be happy to arrange both payment and method of shipment. (NOTE: Shipping is not free.) They are all wonderful and wholesome reads, especially for a middle school audience. The stories are literally class-room tested by a horde of 5th and 6th graders, and the kids LOVED Andy Andrews and the Adventure of the 13th Princess, as well as Me and Poophead Penelope. So if you’ve got a child or children in that age group, they will want to read these even if they don’t know it yet. (Why an established publishing house has not yet picked the stories up for publishing is beyond me.) Your kid will like them, and you just might enjoy them, too.

Affirmation of a Dream

A couple of weeks ago I came across a blog with a similar number of followers to that of my own. This by itself was not significant… until I saw the blog’s hit counter.

It had about seventy times the number of hits compared to The Playground.

I thought this was interesting. At the time I was participating in the A to Z Challenge, so I couldn’t post on the subject, but I kept an eye on the numbers for the following weeks until now. As of today, the numbers are as follows:

Read the rest of this page »

The Childlike Author Feels… Zealous

A to Z Challenge Survivor

Zealous [zel-uh s]
– ardently active, devoted, or diligent; full of, characterized by, or due to fervor or eager desire.

Getting through this month was a case of zeal. Writing twenty-six posts in thirty days was difficult, especially when I was, at times, drawing original comics to go with those posts. It took a lot of devotion, a lot of activity, and a lot of diligence to get through it, and there were times when I didn’t want to finish. I wanted to quit and go back to writing two posts every week instead of six.

But I didn’t quit.

I love to write, and so I didn’t quit. I love to write, and so I wrote. Even when other things in my life tried to take over my time to write, I still wrote. Life pushed me and I pushed back.

Read the rest of this page »

The Childlike Author Feels… Yearning

Yearning [yur-ning]
– deep longing, especially when accompanied by tenderness or sadness.

I do not feel up to writing today. Not because I do not want to write, but because I yearn for something which I cannot articulate. Thus, instead of my own works, I have included other men’s, who have better captured the essence of my feeling. Both are videos, motivational and yet more. But what is motivation? Is it not acting to find and obtain that which we yearn for? For we who yearn do move to achieve our yearning.

And in the spirit of yearning, I give you what is known as “The Greatest Speech Ever Made.” You will understand why after you watch it.

Read the rest of this page »

The Childlike Author Feels… Xenophilic

American Flag

Xenophilic [zee-nuh-fil-ik]
– attraction to foreign peoples, cultures, or customs.

I was originally going to title this, “The Childlike Author Feels… Xenophobic,” but then I thought better of it. It would take too much explaining and someone would probably take it the wrong way.

Besides, I’m more xenophilic than I am xenophobic, so it makes sense to write about my attraction to other cultures and slide a bit of the other stuff in as a side note. Because let’s face it, we’ve all (probably) been made a bit uncomfortable around foreigners no matter who we are or where we’re from. On that note, for some reason Americans are often depicted as having xenophobic tendencies higher than those of other nationalities. I find that depiction both unfair and untrue, because Americans are not hateful and fearful of foreign cultures and people, but, in fact, the opposite is true: Americans embrace differences. It’s why we’re still the freest country in the world. It’s why we’re called “the melting pot.”

It reminds me of a joke I once heard…

Read the rest of this page »

The Childlike Author Feels… Wicked

Wicked Witch

Wicked [wik-id]
– evil or morally bad in principle or practice; sinful; iniquitous; mischievous or playfully malicious.

I don’t believe I’m qualified to speak on whether I am sinful or iniquitous, or evil or morally bad in principle or practice. Let those who would form their own opinion of me, form their opinion and be done with it.

I am, however, mischievous and playfully malicious, which is a secondary definition for wicked.

Supposedly (I have heard it said), I will at times get a… gleam in my eyes, and a bit of a roguish grin on my lips. Coupled with my pointy ears and slanted eyebrows, I probably look like some sort of imp (only a whole lot taller).

It usually happens when I’m telling a tall a completely true tale.

Read the rest of this page »

The Childlike Author Feels… Vulnerable

Vulnerable [vuhl-ner-uh-buh l]
– capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon.

Have you ever read Shane by Jack Schaefer? Aside from being one of the best books I have ever read (easily in my top five favorites), the eponymous hero of the novel behaves in a fascinating way.

Shane. The original man in black.

Shane. The original man in black.

The story revolves around small-time Wyoming farmers up against the big-time cattle rancher in a struggle for land rights. Tension is just starting to build in the summer of ’89, when up rides the man in black, exuding a “quiet power” and the “easiness of a coiled spring, a trap set.”

“Call me Shane,”  the stranger says in a Herman Melville-esque fashion, but other than this short name, he remains a mystery. It’s clear he was originally just passing through the territory, but he starts work on Joe Starrett’s homestead as a farm hand when he realizes the big cattle ranch up the way is putting pressure on the new homesteaders.

Good guy, eh?

Read the rest of this page »

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