Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Partners in Rhyme

The Rhyme of the Century

Years ago I wrote The Locket, a fairy tale for my neighbor’s daughter, Jeanette, on Union Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Every week I’d write a chapter and drop it off with her mom, Barbara, and they would have story time that night. The story was about a little girl who had to travel to the fairy realm in order to retrieve a plant with magical properties that would cure her sick mother. What I didn’t know at the time was that Barbara had un-diagnosed cancer. When she passed, I wept that my story didn’t come true. There was no magical plant to save her. While doing research for The Locket, I read Grimms, Mother Goose, and Aesops for reference, story ideas and characters. Out of all my research, Humpty Dumpty stood out. I had questions that had to be answered! Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall. Where, when, why, what, how? I had also just watched the remake of Dragnet with Dan Akroyd. What if it wasn’t an accident, or vertigo? What if he had been pushed? What if there was an investigation?
So I started writing, knowing this might be a great story for my niece and nephew, Rhemi and Gabe. Many times I write to discover what I’m thinking about, especially when it comes to my short stories: to discover the ending, to solve the case, to get answers, to find the why. And so I reread Mother Goose Tales and populated my world of The Big Nursery with those characters, figured out the suspects, blended some realities and told it in the Dragnet style, making Friday’s Child my detective. Thus True Crimes from Rhymes Square was born.
In all good detective stories there is a sidekick, one usually close to retirement, about to get married, or have a child. This trope is used to create more sympathy when that character dies. Don’t worry, nobody dies in my story. So the thing is, I have a cat named October and I thought Friday’s Child (who is loving and giving,) should have a partner named September (thirty days hath he till retirement.) Looking back to the story of Humpty, there are all the kings horses and all the kings men--they must be the beat cops. So Friday’s Child and September must have come up through the ranks, made detective, and explains why September is a horse. Now, as detectives, they work for Mother Goose.
My first draft was a rambling mess and this is why writers need editors to reign them in. Fortunately my buddy Doc was there to tell me to use the police procedural structure. I had the Dragnet voice but not the milieu. I got back on track, finished the tale of Humpty Dumpty and read it to a nonplussed Rhemi and Gabe. They needed pictures to help them follow the story. So I filed my story away and forgot about it. That is… until my fabulous artist friend Eric Hamilton
published The Sound in the Basement; a Kickstarter-funded children’s book. Once I read it I asked if he would read my story and consider illustrating it. He read it, loved it, and then we came up with this crazy idea to produce True Crimes from Rhymes Square as a limited collector’s edition, and a sales tool to find a publisher for national distribution. So here we are, nine months after the journey began. Along the way, we picked up Liz Daggar to design the book, and Stephanie Cox-Williams to be our project manager and keep us on track. Printing costs for the book are 4.5k and I am indebted far much more to Eric, Liz and Stephanie for all their work to date. Our Kickstarter is for 6k because we know we can make that mark, but our true goal is to raise 12k in order to pay everyone, including myself for out of pocket expenses. Artists and artisans need to be paid and our team has tremendous faith in this project which is why you should too!
Truly, I am here on bended knee with cap in hand asking you to join our team and support this project. We’re creating art, promoting talented people, and together we all are creating something new and unique. For just $35 your reward is a signed numbered collector’s edition of True Crimes from Rhymes Square. When we get a publisher, we will be the next Stinky Cheese Man. Imagine your bragging rights when that happens. You can say, “I made that happen.”
And you can make it happen by clicking here.
Love, Andy

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