When I was a kid growing up my dad working in a factory that made cardboard and cardboard boxes. He operated a machine called “The corrugator”. That’s the machine that puts the wrinkles in the center of sheets of cardboard sheets. In the industry they call that fluting. And these corrugations are what make cardboard so strong.
So, pretty much since childhood I have been using cardboard to make all kinds of creative projects. And this is where my latest book comes from.
The book is done and I have gotten some help with editing and am currently doing a minor re-write. It’s a great book and it gives a whole lot of different types of projects that can be made from a cardboard box.
Now I am looking for a publisher or an agent for this book.
If you want to have some fun making things with cardboard check out this section of my website: Cardboard Box Projects
I had recently taken a road trip around America. It was a beautiful trip through an amazingly beautiful country. You can read about it and see pictures/videos on my website here: Will Travels Medieval America
And the whole experience lead me to some interesting observations about the processes of writing and of traveling.
Traveling is exhausting, especially when you get older! You have to give it a lot of energy. And because you are doing new things and seeing new things it also absorbs a lot of physical, and mental, energy.
This means that I didn’t write like I normally did. I just didn’t have the time or the energy for it. And, I did a lot of driving which absorbed a lot of time and energy.
But, I did take notes and keep a calendar with notes. And that has proven very valuable to me. Because now that the trip is over and I am back to a normal setting I have the time and the energy to write. And the notes and calendar have proven invaluable.
Doing this also helped me to soak in and appreciate my travel more. The travel wasn’t just about doing a job. It was about experiencing that in my life primarily. Writing about it was secondary.
Pictures and videos
There was a very profound benefit to me taking lots of pictures and videos during my trip.
Now that I am writing about the whole experience I am reviewing thousands of videos and pictures. (And that’s an accurate number. There are thousands of them!)
I previously thought of pictures and videos as a means of support. I thought I would write about a place, castle or museum and then I would dig up some pictures to enhance the writing. It turned out to be much more involved than that.
Going through the pics and vids brought up previously forgotten memories, and feelings. So, the enhancement to my writing wasn’t secondary. It took a very strong primary role. And this isn’t something that I anticipated. It caught me by surprise.
Well, to summarize all of this I just wanted to impart on you some advice. If you are traveling, or going to travel, I recommend you take lots of pictures and videos! They are so much more than just support for your writing.
Even the younger ones in America have a story to tell.
It isn’t necessarily about castles; it’s more about human beings and the things we do. People have been people since the beginning of time. And this means, victories, triumphs, betrayals, murders, disappearances and stories of human effort and triumph.
But these stories tend to stick around with castles because castles tend to stick around. So, there is an anchor that keeps the story going. In some cases for hundreds of years.
Last week I told you about my journey around America in my quest to visit many sites including castles.
I have been thinking a lot lately about writing a book about the interesting stories of American castles. Send me an email if you think this is a good idea. Or if you know a story linked to a castle.
And just as a teaser … I included in this post a picture I took of a castle. It is called “Castle Rock” and it is in New York state. You can’t get anywhere near it. It is on private land and you can only get pictures of it from a distance like I did. But an interesting story about this castle is that it is rumored to be the inspiration for the Witch’s castle in the movie The Wizard of Oz.
This book is not published but it is written. Here is a fun cover that I made.
It is all about making functional projects out of an Amazon box. The focus is on creativity and fun!
Let me know what you think about this cover! And… let me know what you think about the book! We are all getting lots and lots of boxes from amazon and they don’t all get recycled. So… don’t throw it in the trash.. make something with it!!!
The Astronomical Society of Southern New England will be hosting my presentation and book signing event. I will be talking about the process of writing and publishing a book and afterward will be signing books.
The ASSNE is a vibrant organization with an active membership involved in amateur astronomy. I am honored that they will be hosting the event.
It is at the Carpenter Museum on 4 Locust Avenue in Rehoboth Mass.
It took me seven years to write it and just a few days I go I finished the final edit.Yay!
I am so proud of this book. It was a lot of work. Now I need to find a literary agent and it’s needs a cover design. I will keep you updated on this.
One interesting thing when it comes to writing a novel. This is true for me anyway. But my notes and ancillary materials end up eventually to be twice the size of the actual novel. It is finished at 79k Words. But all the various supporting materials, notes and more have to be at least twice that.
When I was a kid growing up in the 1970’s we made things. That is what my friends and I did for fun. Since that decade the world has changed a whole lot. Computers, internet, cellphones, online movies and many other things absorb a lot of our time and attention. While these things are all very wonderful, they have replaced some of the simpler things in life like the art and craft of making things.
Kids in today’s world have a whole lot of instant options vying for their attention and every parent or grandparent knows that it can sometimes be difficult to pull the kids away from an electronic device and get them to do something different. But, rather than fight the technology we can co-opt it a bit by understanding and tapping into what interests them.
And the newly released hobbit movie is a great opportunity for this. What kid isn’t excited about the hobbit book and or the movies? And what kid wouldn’t want to have the iconic Sting sword from the movies?
A transformation occurs when a child makes something. He or she crosses the line from a consumer being entertained to a creator. His imagination is ignited. He no longer watching Frodo carry the sword, he made the sword himself and carries it off to fight Smaug himself.
And this time making something is a great opportunity to spend simple time together talking and collaborating on a project. So, if you are looking for a reason to get the kids away from the television think about using a movie or a video game as the catalyst. Here are some suggestions from the Hobbit movies of inexpensive projects that you might want to make with a child.
Sting- the glowing sword that Frodo and Bilbo carry. – You can even use the non-toxic fluid in a glow stick to make your Sting glow.
The Dwarven Windlass – This is a unique type of catapult that is used to bring down the dragon Smaug. You can make your Windlass shoot straws or cotton swabs.
Our Merry band of Dwarves all carry unique weapons from a hammer to a bow, slingshot and polearm. These are all very fun projects that can be made cheaply with foamboard and a broomstick or dowel.
And the list of possibilities is endless. We don’t have to choose swords and weapons. The hobbit movies also offer us lots of other options. You can also make a hobbit terrarium complete with hobbit hole and live plants. This combines a child’s interest in hobbits and in gardening. It is a nice synthesis of subjects that gives us the opportunity to make something.
All of this applies not only to the Hobbit movie but it also applies to video games. If your son or daughter has a favorite video game you can certainly find something within the game that the child would like to make. So, with a just a few questions you can target in on something that your child or grandchild might like to make and turn it into a wonderful Saturday afternoon project.