Inspiration to me as a writer has come from many sources. First and foremost have been other authors. My favorites are Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein, although there are several others worthy of mention like Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenn Nesbitt and Bruce Lansky. I’ve been reading their poems for years to my classes and have always loved their way with humor and words. I’ve always had a similar sense of humor and have always had a way with puns. It has fit quite neatly in with my writing style.
A second source of inspiration has been my students and other children with whom I have worked. Every once in a while a child will say or do something that resonates and I think, “That would make a great poem!” When visiting a 4th grade class a few years ago one of the students came up to me and told me about story characters he created called ‘Schnums’. He described them in detail and showed me pictures he had drawn. He then asked if I would create a poem about his characters. I took his suggestion and let it ‘simmer’ for a while in my imagination. After a couple of months I wrote a story poem called ‘The Schnums’. It appears in my third book, If Life Were a Hollywood Movie. I even had the boy, Liam, provide the illustrations for it.
Here’s the first stanza.
Bounding through the treetops
on their tiny little bums,
Live little sphere-shaped creatures
no bigger than your thumb.
They have funny bulbous noses,
and are as yellow as the sun,
Their yodels echo through the woods,
these creatures called the Schnums!
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