Today I finished up my 31 picturebook ideas for Storystorm 2017 (formerly known as PiBoIdMo). Hooray! I love Storystorm. I get many (most?) of my good ideas through the practice of brainstorming so this exercise is always a natural fit for me.
This year I notice a theme through many of my ideas: anxiety. Probably not a surprising theme for January 2017.
But especially not a surprising theme from someone who had severe issues with anxiety as a kid but whose severe issues were completely without name or notice at the time. How many times did I hear the dismissive, "Stop being such a worrywart!" Too many. Maybe the reason BEDTIME FOR FRANCES by Russell Hoban was one of my favorite books as a kid was because of how dismissive all the adults were of Frances's fears in that book. I related to that problem as a kid (my grown ups loved me just like Frances's do—love you mom!—it's just that grown-ups don't always get it).
My dad died when I was three and in my small town, as well-meaning as everybody was, everyone avoided talking about the bad stuff. With hindsight I see that I was like a deer caught in headlights for years and no one really acknowledged that it was scary as hell to lose my dad. And no one acknowledging it made it scarier.
I've been having a bit of déjà vu in the last week with the new president and the whirlwind of chaos that has followed. There still are so many strange silences from people I know. And I view those silences with curiosity and sadness.
And also as inspiration. Maybe I can take my childhood fears and make something of them now. Maybe I can even make them funny?
Or maybe I'll just make a book about a duck.
Anyway, go check out the famous This is Fine comic if you haven't seen it. It's been used already for lots of memes on the internet. But with regards to all of the above thoughts on anxiety, it's horribly perfect for this week.
And if you want to see the artist's update (because hope is nice) here's a link to that too.