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As we head into winter, I've been thinking about the light and dark in all of us. I used to react to the behavior of others as if it was black and white. If they were nice to me, they were nice people. If they did something unkind, I'd freeze them out. They're a bad person, I'd tell myself.
Thanks to age (and a good therapist), these days I'm mostly able to recognize that black and white thinking as a childhood holdover. Grown-up me knows that people who are largely selfish and cruel can still do kind things and that even the kindest people are sometimes thoughtless. That's pretty elementary stuff, but realizing it was revolutionary to me. I still say it in my head when I'm confused by someone's behavior. It grounds me.
Thinking about that light and dark in all of us also has me thinking about what I've been reading and writing. Much of it has been necessarily dark (healing can't happen if we look away). Plus, let's face it: life has been challenging the last two years. Like seeks out like.
But there's got to be balance. Contrast. Light to the dark. In honor of that, I'm publishing my first children's book! I'm crazy proud of it. Here's the backstory:
One night nearly twenty years ago, bone-tired from a full day of teaching, I discovered that both my kids had the crabbies. Like, next-level demon energy. They didn't want to play, didn't want to color, wouldn't sit still for any of their favorite books. I was on the edge of tears when I was struck by inspiration: I'm gonna make up a story guaranteed to get their attention because it will be about them. I threw in a dragon named Claudette, who, like me, had some serious control issues. She meant well, though, and she loved Princess Zoe and Prince Xander more than anything in the world.
Today, I'm putting her out there so she can love and protect all of your babies, too. The book is designed to fully engage children. If you own the paperback or hardcover, kids are encouraged draw inside (hey, if I had to learn to give up control, so do you). If you have the digital version, the story encourages kids to instead draw on paper as they read along. In either case, it's centered in compassion, creativity, and gentle play.
Please check it out. It makes a great gift, especially for kids who might be feeling a little overwhelmed by the world.
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