A discussion on the origins of the book.
Car Key Gnomes and Other Household Pests began as a silly idea that morphed into a silly poem and eventually achieved its final form as a silly book of poems. It’s silly. And wonderful, and fun, and cheeky, and I love it!
At the time I wrote the first poem, “Car Key Gnomes”, I had two very young boys (who are now older, young boys). No matter how many times they assured me that their shoes had been in the place they should have been, they were, alas, not. At the time I was very much into the world of Faerie, having in my possession a beautifully illustrated and detailed history of the faerie world, by none other than Brian Froud, entitled appropriately Faeries. This got me thinking about all the missing socks and random smells around the house; surely there had to be some outside entity responsible! After all, faeries didn’t go away, they just faded into the background a bit, and what better way to explain the odd goings-on around our houses? After a bit of silly rhyming and writing, “Car Key Gnomes” was born!
Beware! O Beware the Car-Key Gnomes,
Who ransack and rummage and rifle-through homes.
They excavate pockets and delve into purses
To gather up trinkets and candy and worse-s!
Though it began as a fun exercise in rhyming, I rather liked the final poem (an excerpt of which you’ve just read above)! It blended some metric and rhyming qualities from a couple of my favorite children’s poets: Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, and delightfully embodied the whimsy and cheek that I imagined at the outset. So I wrote another.
To be honest, I don’t remember the order of writing, but once I got started it seemed like the poetry just flowed. In past creative endeavors, this has always been a sign that I was onto something, and this was no exception. Soon I had several more poems written: “Sock Goblins”, “The Stink Boggle”, and “Knotty Pixies” to name a few.
When I set out to write a poem, I would first think of a problem around the house – nothing huge or catastrophic, but the little things you never really think about but are always present. In classic faerie and folk tale literature, the fey are always moving things around, or stealing little things like shoes and food (and sometimes, babies), so when I had a viable problem, I married it to the type of faerie creature who would most likely cause that trouble; added in some fun meter and rhyme, and just like magic: I had a poem!
Once I had about ten poems in the collection, I realized that it could be an entire book; this was an exciting notion! I wrote a couple more poems, including “The Doggy Dwarfs”…
My doggie’s always tuckered out.
He sits around; he lies about.
He never plays, the lazy lout!
And I think I know why…
You see, there are these little guys
With tiny beards and beady eyes.
When we’ve gone out and no one’s wise
The Doggy Dwarfs come by.
…to make an even dozen, and decided it was time to figure out how to make it into a book. The next step was art. Did I know an artist who was brilliant, creative, talented, and, equally important: wanted to work with me?
It turns out…I did.