Every story has a journey ~ from the moment of conception, whether it is a creation of the mind or a real life event in the physical world, stories unfold and teach us something about our humanity.
The true-life story of my sweet relationship with a Mallard duck we named, Dave, has had an amazing journey. As our time together unfolded in real time, I learned about loving and letting go, watched my children adapt to and deeply care for their feathered “brother” and observed in my husband love and generosity few spouses would offer.
So potent was the experience’s effect on me, I felt compelled to share my story about Dave with family and friends, often told at a dinner table or gathering. For a while it became a ritual – someone would inevitably say, “Plynn, tell your duck story!” and, of course, I would comply.
My story of Dave has accompanied me for the almost 20 years since it occurred and, in many ways, shaped my personal journey.
In addition to becoming a family legend, I started telling the story orally in the storytelling community, East Valley Tellers of Tales. When I left the business world and returned to university to pursue my passion for writing, Dave became the subject of a piece I wrote for a nonfiction class in my senior year. As the director of ASU’s Young Adult Writing Project, I shared the story as an example for 8th through 12th Grade students who came to write their own stories on the Tempe campus each summer. Always, everyone was delighted and moved by My Son Dave.
I submitted the story in various forms to journals and contests, to good reviews but never publication. Yet the story continued to compel itself through me and when I applied to graduate school to study the art of writing, Dave was there as my application writing sample. After I got accepted to Lesley University’s MFA program, the story of Dave’s and my relationship was the one I used to hone my writing skills.
And several years after that, when I decided to foray into the e-publication world, I knew that My Son Dave was the perfect story to travel there with me. As soon as the e-book came out, people inquired about an illustrated version, so once again, I complied. I invited Jessica Lynn Woodson to join the journey as illustrator and our creative collaboration began.
The beauty of working with Jessica has been her deep knowledge of my family as she is a childhood friend of my son Dan. Her re-creations of the scenes in my home, yard and neighborhood hold the unique qualities of an ethereal reality. Her muted watercolor depictions of my husband Mike and me lovingly hold our essence. When I first saw the collection I cried ~ she captured our memories perfectly.
This cross-generational story about My Son Dave has been an incredible journey for me so far. I’ve watched it capture people’s hearts, I think because it shares a universal story about Love.
May the illustrated story of Dave’s and my journey bless and teach you as much as it has blessed and taught me. Here’s the link to: My Son Dave