As promised, when I was up in Maine, I worked on the alligator story.
Editing someone's best story is tricky business. Even trickier when they are not around anymore to help. Uncle Will was a GREAT storyteller and his alligator story is beloved in our family. BUT his typed version was bare bones without his usual embellishments and lacked his personality. Even though I knew the writing wasn't nearly as good as his telling of the story, I was afraid to edit it. Finally, my Dad gave me a pep talk and told me that if Will gave me his best story to work on, he trusted me to do a good job.
So I edited it. A LOT. Uncle Will had emailed me a page of text and I ended up with three. I interrogated my Mom for a whole evening on what she remembered from the alligator event and I also spent hours going through old video interviews of Uncle Will at the hospital to see if I could add facts to plump up the story.
Today I finally called the story finished and decided what paragraphs would go on what page and also brainstormed illustrations. There will not be an illustration for every page because I would never finish. I think there will be about 8 illustrations and the rest of the pages will be on fancy backgrounds I've painted.
I still don't think I will be done for a while but it feels good to get momentum. I settled on a title too! It will be called "Mail Order Alligator- a fairly factual piece of family folklore" I think.
ps. If anyone has/knows where to find a copy of a 1955 Sears Catalog, please contact me.