Author: Morgan Straughan Comnick
Publisher: Paper Crane Books
Genre: Short Stories
This collection was born thanks to adventures to magical places that my youthful imagination crafted, a royal decree that henceforth let me be known as "The Queen of Details," and a very energetic "role model for today's youth." Writing had always been a comfort, a way of expressing myself since my voice was locked tight due to shyness. But because of these events, gifts, professors, and people in my life, light was shed on a pathway to writing as a career. In this collection, you will find works mostly from my high school years, exploring an array of genres. You'll learn about my younger self--both child and teen--who made me the woman I am today. It all started with a notebook, a pencil, words of encouragement, and a sweet, little dream.
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- A Sweet Little Dream is available at Amazon.
The Dream of a Child
I have a degree in early childhood education (although I currently work at middle school; go figure), so I have had experiences with inside the classroom of the land of crayons, snotty noses, and shoe tying. I vividly recall one day when I was in a kindergarten classroom, sitting crisscross applesauce on the reading carpet observing as the kind teacher showed projects, the topic being “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We tell kids they can do anything, and when they are young, they take this quote by the string and soar to the sky with it! Their imaginations know no bounds and as I sat there, viewing their colorful doddles of themselves at their dream job at age five, my heart warmed, transporting me to happier, innocent times. Most kids, I noticed, wanted to be firefighters, superheroes, ballerinas, or princesses. You always have some kids who want to be doctors and that class happened to have tons of future vets. All the choices are darling and attainable to a sweet mind.
Perhaps, I was an odd child. I take that back; I know I was an odd person, but I was too shy to let it show until I was in my late teens. I did not want to be any of the normal or unimaginable careers back when we dressed up as our future occupation. I wanted to be a paleontologist. I loved dinosaurs. Granted, I cannot really recall how I got into them (Land Before Time may be a part of it, but the first one is too sad), but I know I had many children’s resource books about the topic that I still consider precious to me today. I borrowed a white lab coat from my mom with a name tag that said “paleontologist” in navy marker letters. I always brought props: I had a red plastic sand shifter, sand, one of my books, dinosaur bones I found at a local museum, and a tan plush mastodon. One of the doctors at the hospital my mom worked at could not even pronounce my career! I have a picture of a curly hair, grinny me, hugging a plush mastodon, ready to discover dinosaurs. From age five to eight, this was my dream, my life, my way to change the world. However, when I read in a book about how most paleontologists have to travel to desert lands to dig up their findings, my first grown up choice was squished, buried as deep as the dinosaur bones. I hate heat and dry along with the texture of sand. I remembered telling my dad at age eight about my choice to change my career choice in the kitchen, and he stared at me and tried to suppress a laugh.
In third grade, I watched a six-hour special with my mom on QVC that sold teddy bears from six different companies. Stuffed animals have always been a passion of mine, but there was something about this schedule, the hosts, the company owners, and the history of the bear. This was my first introduction to Teddy Roosevelt as well. My mom recorded this special for me and got me six of those bears and I do not know how many times I watched that tape in my elementary life! From that moment on, I collected teddy bears, having over three-hundred before I donated many after I got married and I found my new dream: a teddy bear designer. Writing that down in fourth grade cocked many heads, but I enjoyed drawing teddy bears in cute clothing, with a story I wrote for each bear. Huh…I wrote earlier than I thought…Getting off track! Teddy bears still have made a huge impact on my life with their cute fluffiness!
In fifth grade, I was introduced to my favorite teacher, Ms. Mahan. That made my year special to begin with. I made some lifelong friends there as well (all boys oddly). Even though I was still shy and got picked on for it among other things, Ms. Mahan was the first one to tell me I could sing well (I sang a song from the Pokemon: the First Movie soundtrack to her! HA!) and that she admired my imagination, how I dressed up, and liked to act. Dress-up was one of my favorite past times as a child and I incorporate that into my life still. I was timid to be myself, but I loved being someone different, expressing myself in this way. So, I figured, why not get paid to dress-up and perform? I had this dream for about two weeks, but my shyness would be a huge hindrance to my time in the spotlight.
Ms. Mahan did not give up on me though. I had to take a career placement test in fifth grade and the first result I got was teacher. I was baffled, scratching my head at the thought. My father was a high school teacher, so I knew the ins and outs of education, the behind-the-scenes of grading, meetings, and curriculum. One of my most beloved past times growing up was playing school with my younger cousins, with me as the instructor. The light that danced in their eyes when a subject clicked or I engaged them in something new fueled a fire inside my soul. However, I never considered it for me. I did not want to copy my dad’s path. However, Ms. Mahan had other plans for me, her next sentence changing my life: “Oh, a teacher? I know you would make a great teacher Morgan; you have the compassion to be one.” And it was like the universe aligned. I decided to become an early childhood/elementary teacher right then and there and never looked back. I still am seeking full employment as an educator, but I did get my requirements down, so blessed I get to show compassion and teach the next generations.
There is one career down, but you are probably wondering about writing?
To be frank, I never considered being an author or writing as a job. I wrote to express my timid, locked away voice, to vent, to be creative in my own world of non-judgment. I began writing Spirit Vision, my first published work, when I was fifteen because my communication arts teacher boldly said he was going to write a book at random one day. Then he told me I would be a grand character in his, sparking a desire to share a story with the world. Thanks to my on-going imagination, this inspiration, my high school setting, and my love for the spiritual world, I was able to start the book. It took me four years to finish the book and four years to get a contract with Paper Crane books after I had forty nos from other companies. The works in A Sweet, Little Dream are from my public education days. The fact I get to share them, thank them for all they have done for me, is grander than treasure. It thrills me to no end to have my beloved characters and ideas loved by other people, to have my imagination explode, become almost tangible on a page, to inspire others to make their dreams come true.
My occupation is very different from the five-year-old who wanted to assemble pre-historical creatures. I am not digging in the sand or deciding what color fur would look best for the Japanese kimono bear, but, I think all through my life, I wanted to piece things together to tell a story, create my own thing for others to love, to inspire and interact with others. What is better than writing and teaching to do this? I grew up, but the colorful world of a kindergartener is still in my heart, fueling, pulling, driving me daily. So, in a way, I did follow my childhood dream.
Thank you for reading my guest post and joining me for my collection’s blog tour.
When she is not writing, daydreaming, snuggling with her hubby, or trying to educate and inspire young minds at her local school district, Morgan enjoys singing, acting, drawing, playing video games, organizing things, doing goofy voices, confusing people by making them smile with her cute, but unique fashion choices, engaging in social interaction with her friends, family, co-workers, love of her life, and church family, smiling and laughing to burn calories, having ‘me’ time by listening to music and walking, watching awesome TV shows and movies, and collecting adorable plushies, and geeky buttons and keychains along with buying way too many books, graphic tees, and dresses. She is in love with reading as well. Her guilty pleasure, however, is being a full otaku. Anime, manga, cosplay, Japanese culture and more help identify and inspire her every day, giving her confidence and happiness.
Morgan’s first book, Spirit Vision, fuses Morgan’s love for her hometown and the people close in life, the world beyond life, finding the magic only you can have inside yourself, the power of love and friendship, and of writing in general. She hopes to make Spirit Vision a series and write many more books, sharing her always on imagination with the world.
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