Zach and Lucy have arrived!
I’m thrilled anytime a project I’ve had a hand it makes it across the finish line, but these books are special for the number of firsts they represent. They’re the first books I wrote in partnership with another author, the first of my books my own children have read to me, and the first of my books to have been illustrated (thank you, Mark Chambers!). But they’re special for another reason.
A couple of years ago, my good friend and critique partner, Stephanie Guerra and I were having dinner. We were both in a bit of a funk about our individual work at the time, and both realizing we wanted to have a little more fun with our writing. And in a curry-fueled moment of solidarity, we decided that maybe we should try writing something together. Something fun. Something different.
That was one seed for the Zach and Lucy stories. The other was laughing about the crazy shenanigans we pulled as kids to make money. My sisters and I used to put on shows or haunted houses in our basement and charge the neighbor kids to come. Steph has even better stories about her siblings, but those are hers to tell. And I realized as a parent of young kids, I was seeing my kids do the same kinds of things. My son and daughter often open stores in our spare bedroom, or haul all of our stuff from the garage to the front porch and then invite me to come and buy it back like some crazy groundhog day version of a yard sale. Stephanie had similar (and even funnier!) stories to the same effect. And we wondered if there might be something to the idea of a pair of industrious, scheming siblings who play this way, who spend more time preparing and staging their play than they actually do playing.
But working on these books reminded me that I do the same thing in my work and life. Sometimes, the most fun is to be had in setting up for the big idea. The anticipation. The buildup. The dreaming of how wonderful and fun it will be. And sometimes we need the fun of preparing for something to give us the momentum we need to get through the harder parts later.
Luckily, Zach and Lucy get to enjoy both the fun of dreaming up their ideas and the joy of seeing them play out. There are bumps along the way, conflicts to work out, and unexpected, delightful outcomes at the end. And even more luckily, so did Stephanie and I had similarly fun journeys as we worked on these stories. Isn’t that what play–whether its writing a story or opening your own museum–really all about?
I hope so. And I hope readers of all ages find Zach and Lucy’s stories half as much fun to read as they were for Stephanie and me to write.
PS: I don’t know why we’re called the Pifferson Sisters. That curry was pretty strong.