Leaf it Like it Is

So say what you want about politics and global warming and all, but it is freakin’ hot in Connecticut, and it doesn’t matter why. Sweaty. Steamy. Why-does-anyone-have-to-even-wear-pants hot. Sleep like a starfish hot.


This extended season of steaminess is a great reason to think toward fall, which is without a doubt the most delicious of New England seasons. After living in the south for years, I still can’t get over the beauty of fall in this part of the country. Breathtaking.


I was inspired by DearAnnArt, who is currently having an autumn watercolor challenge, during which participants work on nine different watercolor projects. This one, appropriately, features leaves, and I particularly enjoyed blending colors as I thought about the gorgeous canvas of foliage that’s about to be full of color all around me.

As you may have surmised by now, my artistic style is illustrative, meaning I don’t really expect objects to be realistic-looking. I’m always picturing how objects will look on a greeting card and especially, in a children’s picture book.

After years as an educator and a parent, reading stories to kids of different ages, I can’t help but picture the stories that might accompany artwork. For example, as I painted more leaves, I thought of a children’s poem that would go with them:

leaf poem

Juliette loved to rake leaves

The rustle and crunch gave her glee

She’d pile crackly heaps

In waiting for leaps

Into autumn she’d go….YIPPEE!!

Here’s the thing. I have no idea why my brain thinks in rhymes. It just does. When I write for children, my stories often come out rhyming. Maybe it’s the musical quality or the rhythm of the words–not sure. I’ve tried, quite intentionally, to write stories that don’t rhyme, but so far, they just seem forced.

It is what it is.

I am what I am.

The words lose their fizz

When I try to cram

the meaning in sentences without a beat.

My mind does repentance, and can’t keep it neat.

The story–it wanders. The characters–lost.

The fun goes away, and the plot lines are crossed.


See? Rhymes. I could try to change it, but why? I have to leave it alone.

This doesn’t mean I’m not open to edits–I am. I’m working with an editor this month on my current picture book, and I’m more than willing to take advantage of her knowledge and experience to make my manuscript the best it can be. But if I tried to make it un-rhyme-y, I just don’t know what would happen to the characters and the story line.

For now, I’ll “leaf” it like it is.

The countdown is on. 16 days ’till fall begins!








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