February Hedge a gram

Happy February,

      This is my February hedge a gram.  It's especially for young artists and people who are interested in creating children's books.  I try hard to be honest about how my work is going and tune in to what tasks I do each month, because my year has an ebb and flow.
     If I wasn't writing this hedge a gram, I'd be starting my new book about Hedgie going to outer space.  I sort of have a plot, inspired by the geysers at Yellowstone National park, and also by the deep sea vents.  The geysers at Yellowstone erupt spraying water up into the air.  There are also boiling hot pools and some are filled with colorful mineral mud.  One pool, the morning glory pool, has a fence around it with a sign saying, "Don't throw anything in this pool or its beauty will be destroyed."  Same with the geysers.  People can clog them up by throwing coins and stuff in them.  This gave me an idea for a natural phenomenon on the planet Hedgie visits.  I was also interested to learn about the deep sea vents that support life, not with photosynthesis, that's when green things grow with help from the sun's energy, but from the mixing of chemicals and heat from the earth's core.
     I am using my sketchpad and drawing the plant characters that inhabit the planet.  These plants talk and walk like any interesting alien would do.  I have always been fascinated by orchids.  There are plants that often mimic insects or look like faces.  If you got a book out of the library about orchids you would see what I mean.  If any flower looked like it could walk and talk it would be an orchid.  I'm hoping to go to an orchid show to do research.  If you ever go to Washington D.C. and visit the museums there, you can see the orchid collection at the Botanical Gardens.  There are about 1,000 orchids in blossom, all in the most astounding colors and patterns.  You can smell them too, you'll smell lemon cake, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, and berries.  Some smell odd like blood or rotten fruit.  I also would like to go to the space center at Cape Canaveral and take a tour.   Even though Hedgie's space ship and suit will look old fashioned, I will probably learn a lot.  Luckily our son Sean is a physicist.  He studies the way materials react to each other.   I will ask him to help me with some formulas for Hedgie's space briefing.
     You may know that a children's picture book is 32 pages.  I have in mind young readers, so I keep the amount I express in words brief.  This works well for me because I prefer to tell my stories in pictures.
     Since I am on the beginning of a big project, maybe you would like to start a book of your own.  My best advice is to think of a plot, or turning point first.  That's the hardest part for me.   After that, the rest is easy, although since I like to put a second story in the border, I need to consider what action I would like to tell about that adds to my story.
      Once I begin writing I try this trick.When I fall asleep I think of my story.  If I have a problem to solve I picture it, then I say to myself, "Come on imagination, do your stuff!"   Some days, I'll wake up with the answer.  If this doesn't work, I'll clear my schedule and have blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and strong tea with honey for breakfast.  I also go for runs and turn over elements of the story in my mind.  I talk over the plot with my husband, Joe.  He has a logical mind and I like his input.
     Now that I've told you how I rev up my storytelling, I hope you will give some thought about how you get your best ideas.  If just one of you wrote and illustrated a story, that would make it a very good February.
      Good luck and happy reading.   Your friend,

                                  Jan Brett