When I was in the second grade, my teacher Mrs. Ford decided that it would be a great learning experience for all of her students to write their own stories, split the stories up into pages, and illustrate each page with their own markers and crayons (and let’s be real, snot and dirt, too). She would then take those pages, laminate them and bind them together, and let us give them to our parents as gifts at the end of the year. It was a great way to get our young minds working, and a great way for us to saddle our parents with yet another little-kid memento to cry over when we headed off to college.
I remember thinking this was the coolest thing on the planet-cooler than the Pokemon cards my older cousin had given me; cooler than Kenya, which I had just done a report on and thought was the coolest place ever because it had elephants; even cooler than staying up late and watching Ren and Stimpy when I was TOTALLY NOT ALLOWED TO DO THAT. So I sat down at my desk and began to write, and write, and write.
At the end of the year, most kids had about six or seven books to give to their beaming parents. I had twenty-two.