MOTHER KNOWS BEST
posted by Andrea Perry
Of all of the things that I ever wanted to be when I grew up: a nun, teacher, drummer, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., interior decorator, Miss America, speech therapist, super model, librarian, and Stevie Nicks back-up singer - children's author never made an appearance on my list. As a matter of fact, the notion of such a thing was not even mentioned until I was 35. At the time, I was an at-home mom raising two toddlers. I had degrees in psychology, education, and rehabilitation counseling and had worked for a number of years as the director of placement and housing for recently discharged state hospital patients. So imagine my surprise when out of the blue one day my mother suggested I take a course in writing for children. " I don't think you realize that you have a gift," she said. "For talking on the phone, brushing my hair, and changing diapers at the same time, maybe, " I replied, "but that's about it." Her evidence for making such a suggestion, she claimed, was that I had always written little rhymed ditties inside the cards I mailed to friends who were getting married, graduation, moving, or taking new jobs. And I had also won the grand prize in two recent writing contests hosted by Kaufmann's where I had to describe married life in one, and why my husband and I deserved a cruise to Bermuda in another. "The craziest thing I ever heard," I believe I may have said. So convinced was I that she was so completely wrong, that I actually enrolled in the class to prove my point. And getting out of the house for one evening a week for 12 weeks did sound rather inviting.
Well, the rest is history. Truth be told, I haven't quit my day job. Yet. But I have been lucky enough to publish three picture books. My life as a children's author has been full of ups and downs, rejections and acceptances, and I continue to evolve, writing and rhyming away, still not knowing what the future holds, but loving it and knowing she was right. How did my mother know? I have no idea. But I'm glad she did.