The hardest part about being both a father and an aspiring children's author is not what you might expect. Finding the time to hone my craft is difficult, sure, as is maintaining a private workspace. But neither of those things compare to the difficulty of figuring out where to display the family's best picture books. I must admit that I keep a close eye on certain volumes in my daughter's library, and when I think they've fallen out of her favor I pilfer them away to my home office. I am not proud of it.
Thee weeks ago, my munchkin turned four. Tomorrow I'll be thirty-six. As my birthday approaches, I feel simultaneously ancient and preadolescent. One might choose to interpret the pairing of those adjectives as implying both wisdom and imagination. Others might see them as allusions to decrepitude and immaturity. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth. And you know what? It's not such a bad place to be.
In fact I quite like it.
I'm old enough now to understand how misguided ambition can be (and, apparently, to throw around words like "decrepitude"), but young enough to believe my journey as an artist is just beginning. I'm wise enough to be a decent dad, and vigorous enough to chase my daughter to the ends of the earth: to "sail off," as it were, "through night and day, and in and out of weeks, and almost over a year, to where the wild things are".
So, to all other young(ish) parents out there making a go at creating art for kids, I raise a glass and toast:
Here's to premature grays and childish ways, in equal measure.
And now, something old made new again...