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Five Irrelevant Questions for David Gardner

David Gardner, or as I like to call him, Mr. Awesome.
David Gardner, or as I like to call him, Mr. Awesome.

Thanksgiving is upon us, so I thought it would be fun to interview the wonderful illustrator of Sarah Gives Thanks, David Gardner!

This plan’s only snag is that I had already interviewed him last year.

So instead of asking David about the book or his profession, I thought I’d come up with questions that had nothing to do with anything. Enjoy!

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You have 30 minutes to prepare for the coming zombie apocalypse. How would you use this time?

I’d start by saying the Serenity Prayer repeatedly. Once I accepted the idea that this was one of those “things I cannot change,” I’d look around and see what I was leaving undone. (Unlike Brad Pitt, I’m not prone to feel I have much power to overcome a bunch of zombies.)

I’d realize that 30 minutes isn’t long enough to finish revising my Great American Novel, so I’d call my sisters and my friends and tell them I love them. I’d hug my partner and our dogs close and tell them I love them, too. Then I’d insist we watch the Chuckles the Clown’s funeral episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show for the last time. It’s best to go out laughing.

zombies

You are given the chance to yell at any historical figure. Who would you choose and what would you say?

Millard Fillmore. I’d shout, “What are you, crazy?! Would it kill you to listen to that nice Mrs. Hale and declare Thanksgiving a national holiday? What have you got to lose? Nobody’s gonna remember your presidency, anyway.”

My gal.

Which extinct animal would you keep as a pet?

Saber-toothed tiger. That should protect me against the coming zombie apocalypse.

But – could I get somebody else to clean the litter box? Is Wilma Flintstone included in this deal?

If you could have a small speaking part (one to three lines) in any motion picture, which movie and role would you select?

The Butler. I’d be great playing Oprah’s white love child. I’d even let her slap me.

God grants you a one-question interview. Which mystery of the universe would you solve?

I’d want to know: Is life really a big classroom? Are we here to learn and evolve into more loving men and women, or are we here to just enjoy life?

I’m guessing this would happen after the zombie thing, so hopefully I won’t regret the half-hour I spent watching Chuckles the Clown.

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Now it’s your turn! Leave me an answer to any one of these questions in the comment section! I do so love your comments.

And happy Thanksgiving everyone!

On Blogging, On Writing

Zombies. Sure, why not?

Yep. I did a "Plants vs. Zombies"  stamp for my son.
Yep. I did a “Plants vs. Zombies” stamp for my son.

If one year ago you sat me down in my living room and told me that I would soon be noodling around with a young adult zombie novel, I would’ve told you two things:

  1. “It’s not gonna happen. I don’t like the genre.”
  2. “How did you get into my house?”

But it turns out you would’ve been right! I am noodling around with a young adult zombie novel!

That said, you still had no right to burst into my house unannounced. Call first.

One of the many things I love about the blogging world is how it pushes my brain in new and exciting directions. The bloggers I follow all see the world a bit differently than I. Being in the company of such people always gets my creative juices flowing.

My sudden interest in zombies can be traced to an old flash fiction contest over at Writerlious’s place. The rules, as I remember them, were to write a story in fewer than 150 words that contains the words “zombie” and “serenity.”

So here’s what I came up with:

Carpet slippers are not very good at negotiating asphalt shingles. Not that Ethan had much time to consider his footwear – or much else for that matter – as he scrambled up his downspout in a groggy panic.

What was worse was that he had no one to blame but himself. He heard the warnings that accompanied the weather forecast on the evening news but was too lazy to pull an all-nighter. “I’ll board up my windows first thing in the morning,” he thought. But he overslept, and now his house was full of loitering zombies who were leaving trails of blood and pus all over his hardwood floors.

The weather was beautiful, however. The sun calmed him, and Ethan soon discovered that, despite the dozens of undead squatters on the floors below, he could still find a little serenity on this most unusual spring day.

It was a fun exercise and I found the result promising.

Over the next few months I began to think about Ethan and wonder what his life was like before he found himself stranded on his roof.  So, when I wasn’t writing at my day job, or writing picture book manuscripts at night, or doing the husband and father thing (which is rewarding beyond measure, but keeps my word counts alarmingly low), I scribbled a few notes and banged out a few scenes.

So, without further ado, take a peek at a very, very rough except:

The first report took up no more than four column inches of the Dogwood Dispatch and could be found on page A17, wedged between a story about the township’s scuttled plans for a roundabout and the particulars of a newly-approved pooper scooper law.

An unconfirmed report relayed by an unnamed orderly at the Sunnyville Eldercare facility spoke of an unnamed old woman leaping from her deathbed to attack an unnamed night nurse by gumming her forehead. The police were called. The woman was taken away. No one was hurt. And, as far as anyone knew, the old woman was never seen again. 

That was all the news Silas Johannes needed to read. Silas was a remarkable man for two reasons: First he was able to read the Dogwood Dispatch all the way to page A17 without falling into a deep, drooly sleep. Second, he was adept at reading between the lines. Where everyone else would’ve read nothing more than an unconfirmed story about a toothless old lady attacking a nurse – if everyone else read up to page A17, that is, which they most certainly never did – Silas saw an origin story, the beginning of what would become a national crisis. There was no time to peruse page A18. There was work to be done.

Even though Silas had been up since 5 AM and was exhausted beyond measure, even though the streetlight had just winked on and he had difficulty driving at night, he didn’t hesitate. He hoisted his ample frame up from his La-Z-Boy and fumbled for his keys. He then eased into the family hearse and headed straight for the Home Depot. 

Since you fine folks know what a comments section is for, feel free to critique until the cows come home.