Thanks to everyone who has contacted us through WordPress or email saying that they are enjoying our blogging of Ian’s children’s chapter book, “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” We’re still glowing from our great-grandson’s very positive endorsement of the book so far. I, Gayle, will try to be more diligent in getting the rest of the book’s chapters blogged (now that I am off crutches and my new hip is healing nicely) so that we will be able to get into production of the children’s book, hopefully by late spring.
At the same time as this book is being blogged, I’m deep into editing the next volume of Ian’s memoir or autobiographical stories which we are calling “Came to Canada, Eh? (Continuing a Scottish Emigrant’s Story.)” Those of you reading this blog would perhaps be interested in reading an excerpt from that as-yet-unpublished book which tells of Ian’s beginnings as a writer. He began with this very children’s book that we are now blogging.
To set the scene, Ian and his late wife have just moved back to Winnipeg (again). Ian is 63 years old and deciding to finally do what he has always wanted to do but never before found time for. Here’s a excerpt from “Came to Canada, Eh?”
“My whole life I had always wanted to write stories, but the situation was never the way I wanted it to be. Whenever, for example, I wrote a letter to anyone in the Old Country, I would end up sending about 14-16 pages—and I would get one page in reply. Finally, at age 63, I said to myself, ‘Ian, if you don’t start to write now, then you’ll never do it.’ So I sat down and, over a period of three evenings, wrote ‘My Friend Jimmy’. It was a children’s story about a budgie that had no wings—just 16 pages. But I had to write everything longhand. I asked Audrey [our daughter] to keep her eyes open for an old, cheap electric typewriter for me.
“’What do you want an electric typewriter for, Dad? You’ll be wasting your time. Why don’t you get a cheap computer; that’ll do the same thing only better for you?’
“Oh, that was a terrible word to use in front of an old codger like me—a computer? Sudden terror at the thought of even having one in front of me! Well, she eventually managed to convince me that that is what I should get. ‘You can pick one up dirt cheap, Dad. Do you want me to look for one for you?’
“It was a 286, black and white monitor, no hard drive, just two 3.5” floppy disks; but it was a start. I then became a little more ambitious—going to the library and getting out one of those foldout learn-to-type books that stands upright on edge (like a pyramid) and I started to learn to touch type. Me, an old . . . well, something. And I was improving too—starting to type simple sentences without looking at the keyboard. Pretty soon I got myself a 386 computer, then later it was up to a 486, and then a Pentium! Hey, who was that guy who said that the 286 was all he would ever need? I got the Mavis Beacon typing course (on a CD) and was able to calculate that I was up to more than 20 words a minute, even allowing for errors! ‘Not bad for an oldie,’ I thought.
“While I was improving on my typing, I rewrote my children’s story, and kept editing it until it started to look a lot better. I changed some of the contents and then sent it away to a publisher, knowing full well that he would grab it and tell me that it was the very best children’s story he had ever read. … Some hope! Soon I could just about paper the wall with rejections. ‘Never mind,’ I thought, ‘where there’s life, there’s hope.’ I put the story on file and went on to write other stories, thinking that I’d give “My Friend Jimmy” a try again at a later date. (Little was I to know that the later date would be lots later—about 17 years!)”
Much has happened since the years those words were written. Since then Ian was widowed, then remarried – this time to me (an editor). So we’ve now published three books and hope to have this children’s book finally published before long. Below is our blog of Chapter 7 plus two drawings we found on the computer of an “adolescent” raven whom Louie might have resembled.
“JAKE, LITTLE JIMMY AND BIG LOUIE”
by Ian Moore-Morrans
edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans
Copyright © 2012
Louie Gives Jake a BIG Problem
The next day was Saturday. Jake was at his local library first thing in the morning, waiting for the doors to open. Once inside, one of the staff helped him look for books about birds.
(The rest of the chapter’s content has been deleted prior to publication.)
* ~ * ~ *
Picture suggestions: Louie standing on the ground and “talking” while looking up at Jake and Jimmy, who is on Jake’s shoulder.
Louie flapping his wings.