Meet My Own Little Story User Erin Campbell
author of No Chance, Toastypants
This is a story for anyone who has ever wondered “Am I really good at anything?”
The charming tale of Tom Toastypants and his friend Tobias Beeswax
emphasizes the importance of trying new things, and that trying is much
more important than comparing one’s self to others.
Written by Erin Campell with Illustrations by her husband, Aaron Campbell
My Own Little Story’s Kristin Coons got the lucky chance to get
to know Erin Campbell and hear about the book that she wrote.
Why did you decide to write a children’s book?
I have always loved stories; I owe much thanks to my parents for fostering this love in me. The value they placed on books was very evident. They often had a book in their hand; there were stacks of them on bedside tables and full bookshelves throughout the house. A new book was part of every celebration – from the first day of school to Christmas and birthdays. My parents took the time to read to me from a very early age. It was a tradition to end the day with a chapter from a “big” book. If I was very still and quiet, my Dad would read another chapter. I don’t think parents can overestimate the influence they have on their children when it comes to fostering a love for reading. Even if you haven’t developed a love for reading yourself, spend time reading books with your children! The development and conversations a good story can inspire are priceless.
All this is to say that for me, the imagining of and writing of stories was just something that was part of who I am. Would stories have pulsed in my heart if I had not been exposed to so many growing up? Perhaps. While writing stories is something I cannot stop doing, publishing them is a different matter entirely! I had all the mind games so many of us have…these stories aren’t any good, no one will like them, it will be a waste of time, energy and money…I will put myself out there and it will flop, etc. It wasn’t until we were facing the rather large (for us) financial costs associated with adoption that I was spurred out of my “these aren’t any good” sulky fear party and just went for it. It was the growing love in my heart for child that would soon fill my arms that gave me courage. And that is a good rule of thumb for sharing our gifts. Very rarely will someone go, “This is awesome. I am awesome. Everyone, line up and get some of this!” More often it is a love for that story, that art, that song, that creation that will kick us out of our complacency and excuses to step out and share. We love it and we know that keeping it to ourselves is a love dead end. Don’t wait until you think no one will criticize. If there is an idea that has been rummaging around in your heart for weeks, months or years, do it because that gift that you have is meant to be shared and to bless someone else!
Tell me what the journey was that led you to adopting your precious son, Jack.
Big question! I had been diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis prior to my marriage to my wonderful husband Aaron, so we had some warning that conception could be a challenge. It was. After a few years, many procedures and a couple of surgeries (including some ovarian and uterine cancer scares along the way) we had a peace that we had wrestled with this biological process long enough. My body was tired and both of our hearts were beating in a different direction, that of adoption. We had always held the idea that we would love to adopt someday; so the transition wasn’t a rocky one. We had cried it out, felt and shared our grief, been comforted and were in a peaceful place. Not to say that the process of adoption is not without significant ups, downs, twists and turns! I am so glad we had each other. At night, when I hold my son Jack and talk about the day, we snuggle and talk about how we are forever and always family. We belong together. He is the child of our hearts. I have used My Own Little Story to record the story of Jack’s amazing, brave, and loving birth parents, the moment of his birth, what our dog Sherpa thought about it all, the day we stood before the Judge…just everything. Once we publish our *gasp* two volumes, they will be the Life Book that Jack will have to refer back to when he is wondering the things we all wonder…was he wanted? Does he have a place all his own in this world? Is he worthy of love? Is he loved? This book shouts “Yes! Yes you are. Read it as many times as you want and it will be the same every time. You are lovable and you are loved.”
Several users of MyOwnLittleStory have expressed lack of time or talent for writing their children’s story. Since you are a writer, can you give others advice who second guess their ability/time to record their child’s story.
Second-guessing is such a thief. It robs us of the pleasure and joy of so many good things! When it comes to telling your child’s story, who better than you? You don’t have to be perfectly eloquent, or spend agonizing hours at the keyboard pounding out the memories. Just do something. It helped me to pull out my phone (yay for smart phones! A notebook would work just as well…but I never have one with me and I almost always have my phone. My husband will dispute this, but I FEEL like I almost always have my phone) and jot down a few words that would bring back a particular event so that when I did sit down to work on a page of our My Own Little Story book I had some notes to refer to and didn’t have to tackle a blank page with a blank mind! It is true that the words won’t magically appear, but there will be magic there in the years to come as you and your little one sit down and remember the story of his or her life together. Each of our stories are worth telling!
Erin has graciously offered a Coupon Code that you can use toward the purchase of No Chance, Toastypants and other stories that she has written which you can find on her website. Use code: STORY20 http://www.erincampbellstories.com/store/