a witch and a ghoul ninja in the woods, giggling

If I Were A Zombie is being published by Nimbus—spring 2016!—it's a book of monster poetry for 4-8 year olds. Evan and his longtime best-best Poppy imagine the skate park as a robot, math tests as a vampire, bedroom-tidying as a goblin, and the real muddy truth about fairies and crows. And it goes on like that and it's very, very silly and whenever I read them to kids (I've been carrying smashed-up printouts for ages), I lose my voice with all the growling and snarling and goofing. I can't wait for it to be real. I'm so excited.

First order of business, post-deal: visual cues to contribute. They're real-life monsters, after all, ordered one-by-one in a very serious list.

Um, excuse me. Can you write something about a clown who looks like this.

(Yes, love. This is next.)

Hey Poppy. Show me what it looks like when you're standing next to your cauldron and you are about to cast a spell on me.

Evan, self-portrait, thinking of Halloween.

Evan, self-portrait, thinking of Halloween.

These two, since they were two. Her mom and me sitting with mugs of tea and glasses of wine, thumbing through cookbooks. We didn't finish more than three sentences in one stretch for a good five years or more. Someone was always, suddenly, too high up in a tree.

I envy kids. Nothing is a lost cause, for a kid. Not really. They might wish they could be bigger, you know? But that's all. When we're kids, we figure that bigness will eventually make us heard, seen, strong, or unafraid. We figure that will come as we grow. It's our entitlement. Maybe that's why we harden up the way we do when we're adults. We're as big as we're going to get, but we're still small in the same small ways. There's only so much you can affect.

Which is why there are hi-chews, peppermint bubble baths, jammy Sundays, comic book shops, Sharpie marker multi-packs, stuffie Totoros, origami R2-D2s, people to tuck us in. Stuff that makes smallness better. Like tickle trunks.

Everyone should have one. Do you?