Why Digital? And Other Questions

Watercoloring
Watercoloring is so hard!

Why am I writing, illustrating, and watercoloring a book that’s meant for the Kindle? I mean, shouldn’t all things creative, that have to do with books, be for the Printed Page?

Great question, and one that I feel like I really want to share. Sure, I’d love to print this myself and sell a stapled together, zine-type version in my Etsy shop, but the original function of this piece is for the Kindle, and every time I think of the reason, I see this scene:

A mom, reading to her three year-old daughter on an iPad, in the hospital.

I used to be a volunteer at a children’s hospital, and by stroke of fate I volunteered on the floor for kids with cancer. I was supposed to be a baby holder. That’s right–they need people to hold babies at hospitals, and you can volunteer for that! Just as the coordinator was signing me up for my shift, her parter signed someone else up for the same slot–like, a half a second before she put my name in, someone else got it, and there were no more baby-holder positions available. So she asked… How did I feel about kids with cancer?

And thus my life changed in a radical way, and I spent some of the best times of my life in the hospital halls and rooms, entertaining very sick kids. Very sick kids who played baseball in the halls (we did), who were sometimes stuck in their rooms (and we had to wear gowns, gloves, and masks to visit them), and kids who were going in for major surgeries, or carting around giant IV poles with, sometimes, 5 or more different bags going into their arms… and kids experiencing very uncomfortable side effects from their chemo.

These kids couldn’t leave the hospital unless it was because a) they were finally well enough to walk out, or b) they were so sick that they would go home, spend time with their families, and join a spiritual realm. On occasion they could leave for a day or two between weeks, or months, of chemo. Those were always exciting trips for them, and reliefs for their parents (usually the moms, who also spent days/weeks/months in the hospital).

They couldn’t go to a book store. And no used books were available to them (germs). So iPads and computers became portals to other worlds.

So when I think of putting my books online, I think of these kids. Maybe I can reach some of them and give them something a little entertaining, a little different, a small diversion. They’re the first goal, and all the other goals follow behind that one. xo

Love.

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