An Unlikely Children’s Author

I’ve been writing an adventure novel for my kids called Cobbler’s Gulch. This, and other much less interesting reasons, are why I’ve put this blog on hold for so long. Well, I’m finally happy with the current draft, so I’m firing up this blog once again while I set out to navigate publishing and agents and the evils of the global economy.

While writing the book, I told Charlee and Sammers the stories therein at bedtime, and it made for some good bonding. Now that I’m finished, I’ve resorted to reading them the books they pick from the library. They’ve been through the classics — Suess, Silverstein, Dahl, etc. — and now they’re into new material, which I’m finding sorely disappointing. Where’s the humor? The conflict? The complex existential angst?

I agree with Louis CK. I hate Clifford the Big Red Dog and his volumes of depraved mundanity (and the similar characters and stories taking up real estate on the bookshelf beside him)! It’s difficult to bond with your kids over a book when said book elicits the kind of misery that makes a father want to punch himself in the kiwis.

Anyhow, being a DIY kind of guy, I thought it best to write my own story, one for kids and parents — one with high-wire drama, a slapstick spirit, and the perfect amount of anthropomorphic erotica. A lot of the vocabulary is more adult than minor, so it could use some kid-enticing visuals, which I may put into action soon enough, but in the mean time, enjoy!

 

Barnaby the Firefly and His Missing Light

Once there was a firefly.

His name was Barnaby,

And everyday he’d sadly sigh,

For his light was absentee.

 

The problem was his be-hind.

You see, it had nary a light.

This dilemma occupied his mind,

Never more than in the night.

 

Unlike every other firefly

Whose backsides were all bright,

Barnaby would try and try,

But darkness was his plight.

 

He felt like an inchworm who, with all her strength,

Can still only climb in metric length.

Or like a songbird who’s lost his lovely voice,

Or a mime with Tourette’s who speaks without choice.

 

Barnaby felt in his muscle and bone

A great brightness and a brilliance.

And even though darkness was all he’d known,

He still overflowed with resilience.

 

So he sat and thought and brainstormed

Ways he might illuminate,

And a few ideas came to him,

So he pursued his big, bright fate.

 

He consulted with a doctor, a wizard, an electrician, and a handy man.

He had appointments with a lawyer and a reverend and a scientific madman.

 

The doctor was a proctologist,

Not a sir but a ma-dam,

But she wasn’t quite an optimist

After completing her exam.

 

The wizard, he cast a spell

To set Barnaby’s butt aglow,

But even a blind firefly could tell,

That there was no light to show.

 

The electrician looked for wiring

In Barnaby’s derriere,

But Barnaby felt this idea tiring—

There were no wires there!

 

The handy man used every tool—

A hammer, a wrench, a drill,

But it was an errand for a fool.

Lighting butts was not his skill.

 

It’s in a lawyer’s job description

To save a butt or two,

But despite a long legal transcription,

The counselor brought no change in hue.

 

The reverend said a prayer,

Faithful he could resurrect some light,

But Barnaby’s dim derriere,

Remained as dark as night.

 

The scientific madman

Did not use the scientific method,

And his crazy, kooky plan

Practically left Barnaby beheaded.

 

So none of them had answers, none could make him glow,

But Barnaby was not discouraged; he would not let it go.

 

He continued seeking good advice

While dreaming his bold essence.

Surely somewhere there was a soul

Who’d ignite his phosphorescence.

 

A fairy suggested glitter—

“That might make you brighter!”

But it only tasted bitter

And didn’t strike him any lighter.

 

A witch cooked up a brew, in her cauldron that was black.

She swore to make him glow or give his money back.

Worms and tongues and rat tails, too, were in her recipe,

But she couldn’t stoke the fire in poor, hopeless Barnaby.

 

Next he perched upon a lightning rod

And waited for a storm.

Well, a thunderbolt gave him a jolt

And left him much hotter than warm.

 

Desperate and hopeless, entirely at a loss,

Barnaby searched his cranium,

And he stepped over a line he knew better than to cross—

He was going to bathe in uranium!

 

Fortunately, there was a better path,

Thank goodness for good timing.

It came moments before the uranium bath

Into which he was nearly climbing.

 

It was when the full moon shined for everyone to see.

That the great idea came to poor, dim Barnaby.

The man in the moon! The man in the moon! An expert he must be!

On light and shine and blaze and bright and luminosity!

 

The other fireflies laughed at him—

“You’re crazy, you’re silly, you’re nuts!”

But they didn’t know what it was to feel dim,

For they all had shining bright butts.

 

So Barnaby took flight,

He flapped and flapped his wings.

He was ready for adventure,

And all the boons it brings.

 

The journey? It was a doozy.

There were dangers unexpected.

Barnaby felt woozy;

He did not feel protected.

 

There were buzzards. There were hawks.

There were gusts and gales.

There were dragons — many flocks—

All with whiskery tails.

 

Barnaby was almost eaten,

He was nearly blown inside out.

Many times he felt beaten.

But he pushed away the doubt.

 

He kept on, kept on flying,

Up and up and into space.

In the darkness he kept prying,

Angling for the moon man’s face.

 

At last, upon the moon he landed,

And a shocking discovery he made.

He found himself now stranded

On a  fraudulent charade.

 

In the moon, there was no man,

No one to ask advice.

The whole thing was a sham,

And Barnaby paid the price.

 

Demoralized and defeated,

Barnaby, to home, returned,

But as he fumed from being cheated,

He spied a light that burned.

 

Another firefly, her name was Maude,

Was flying out in space.

Barnaby thought this odd.

She, too, was out of place.

 

As bright as any he’d ever seen,

He rushed to say hello.

He thought her as pretty as any queen,

Admiring her great glow.

 

Maude, as it had turned out,

Had ventured into space

To ask the man in the moon about

How he managed his bright face.

 

Her problem was that she was too bright,

So much that she could hardly see her way.

Unlike Barnaby, she had excess light,

And this to her dismay.

 

The two began a conversation,

And really got along.

They each shared their frustration

Being insects, all out of sorts and wrong.

 

She was disappointed, too,

To learn that in the moon there was no man.

But — peculiar! — there was a change of hue

When they held each other’s hand.

 

Barnaby could not say why,

But Maude’s touch made him glow.

While she grew dimmer, by and by,

This new friendship balanced them so.

 

So the firefly called Barnaby,

With his glowing self anew,

Solved his crisis of identity

With a friendship that he grew.

 

If you ever feel not enough,

If you feel uncertainty.

Remember all this wonderful stuff,

You’ve learned from Maude and Barnaby!

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