Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Babies, Families, and Art Creation

My best friend in the entire universe is having a baby in a month.  I am over the moon for her.  My only regret is that we live so far away and I won't be able to see him until the summer.  I love him so much and have so many ideas for what we can do and experience together and he's not even here.Plus we'll be lucky if we see each other twice a year in person. 

My friend isn't pagan but she is feminist, counter culture, highly spiritual, and desperately missing the rituals of her Catholic faith in not the doctrine that goes with it.  I wish I could be there to hug her and throw rituals along side the celebrations for her.  In that stead, I've been consuming with a voracious hunger any information regarding raising children pagan.  Family trads have always been of interest to me, though often on the outer zone because while I love kids, I am not ready to have one and may never be.

I never realized how much we as a group had idea wise for children.  I think there is more diversity of information on how to healthily introduce kids to religion than there is diversity of rituals offered for adults.  Plus the kids rituals have less tools and are more intuitive. Not everything is a gem--I've read through a lot of kids myths and stories that are not my taste (though by no means bad).  Also I've noticed that all main characters in original works seem to be female, which actually is making is hard for me to present the little man to be with an equal gender assortment of books.  Yes I know the world at large is male dominated, but I want the male lead to be as progressive and multidimensional as my female lead.  I have time though, the little baby isn't born yet.  

While I hunt, I've also been piggybacking.  I took two of about.com kids' bedtime prayers and made the into kids picture books using public domain material.  It's got me appreciating the format artist in a way I never knew I should.  I didn't write these works, I didn't break the work up in any fancy way, just pretty much one line of the poem gets it's own page, and I had a software that makes creative layout ridiculously easy.  Still it probably took me about seven hours a book to put these two together (and these are short books only 12 pages including title page, name plate, and ending page). That time doesn't count the hours hunting for the right public domain material to accent the writing. 

It's helped me understand why there aren't more pagan kids books (or adult picture books for that matter) and why we need to support people who are doing this work. 

I'm really proud of the end results though, even the mate, who is not of the artistic bend or pagan or into kids things thinks the first one I did is amazing and the second one is solid.  He quipped that I should have presented them in reverse because then he would have found both books amazing, but I led with the stronger work, so he found the other one much less than it really is.  

It also made me hungry to create more of these little picture books. I'm thinking of creating a house spirit series where a local house spirit helps to explain some concepts that fall under Hir domain.  I've got being a good host, being a good guest, and maybe creating your own house spirit shrine.  I wrote out Being a Good Host, it's going to be 20pages long including title, cover, name plate, end plate and back page.  I've spent days looking through public domain art and I think I finally have enough to really work with creating the book.  I worry that the writing is kind of dry but I guess a lot of those manner-ish books are dependent on good presentation with interesting pictures to help with the potentially less amazing subject matter.  It took me a lot of thesaurus use to find smaller more reasonable words.

So Questions:  Is anyone interested potentially in a copy of these original kids books I'm working on (I can send the writing to you and I can alter some of it so it fits your family and faith better)?  Does anyone have a work they'd like me to adapt to a kids book for them or any ideas on what they'd like to see as a kids read?  Are there any readings or writings already in print of one form or another that you would recommend? 

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