Have You Seen My Pet Dragon?

Children's poetry book

Guys! Gals! I am so excited to share my latest project!  My husband and I are currently promoting on Kickstarter a children’s poetry book called “Have You Seen My Pet Dragon?”

The Origins Of This Children’s Poetry Book

A little less than two years ago, while I was nursing my son in the middle of the night my husband, David, would stay up with us (most nights) and in an effort to keep himself awake, and me entertained, he started to write fun, rhyming poems.  It worked at keeping us from dozing off as we tried to come up with themes and rhymes.

But something happened to David. He just couldn’t stop himself. He would be in the shower, driving to work, or feeding our constantly-hungry child and new ideas for poems kept popping into his head. And they were getting better and funnier.

Six months ago we realized that he had quite a large collection of poems — over 200!

Could we turn these poems into a book? Wouldn’t that be something, we thought. What a gift to be able to give to our little boy for his first birthday, his second birthday for an upcoming holiday. But a children’s poetry book needs artwork.

I could do it!  I thought. Out came the sketching pencils, chalk, watercolor and my sudden realization that I lack the skills to illustrate the whimsical things he was writing poems about.

Watercolor and chalk drawing of "Grass" for a children's poetry book "Have You Seen My Pet Dragon?"
Drawing grass isn’t too bad. Maybe I could do this. But gorillas wearing mittens and a peg-legged, hook-handed ninja …? Hnmm. Maybe. But, maybe not.

So, we found ourselves an illustrator and we’re much closer to making “Have You Seen My Pet Dragon?” a reality.  I am immensely proud but I can’t celebrate just yet.

"Grass" illustration for "Have You Seen My Pet Dragon?"
Behold! The actual artwork for “Grass” — one of the many poems in “Have You Seen My Pet Dragon?” And, a really good example of why you work with professionals.

Help “Have You Seen My Pet Dragon?” Come To Life

The poetry book is within our grasp. Kind of like this …

Just GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

So, close little buddy. So, dang close.

But Kickstarter is All-Or-Nothing. Meaning that if we make our fundraising goal then we can make a beautiful and fun children’s poetry book. If we are shy of our goal then, well…

Nothing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Why is Kickstarter so extreme, you ask?

Great question! As taken from their website:

All-or-nothing funding is a core part of Kickstarter and it has a number of advantages:
It’s less risk for everyone. If you need $5,000, it’s tough having $1,000 and a bunch of people expecting you to complete a $5,000 project.
It motivates. If people want to see a project come to life, they’re going to spread the word.
It works. Of the projects that have reached 20% of their funding goal, 81% were successfully funded. Of the projects that have reached 60% of their funding goal, 98% were successfully funded. Projects either make their goal or find little support. There’s little in-between.

Well, boy howdy, we are motivated! And so far the response has been positive but we can’t let our foot off the gas.

Please Support Us

Raising a large amount of money for a project you believe in can be scary. So does asking friends, family and folks who you hope won’t unsubscribe from your blog, but then there are moments (to me this is one of them), where I can’t not ask.  However, the neat thing about Kickstarter is that folks can back a project at whatever price point they are comfortable with.

So, please, consider backing our labor of love and in return (if we get fully funded), you will get a lovely children’s poetry book that you can keep for yourself or read with a little in your life.

And, since I’m already asking, please also help spread the word. If more people are aware of this project and know that that time is running out to act, we may increase our chances of bringing “Have You Seen My Pet Dragon?” to life.

Watch Our Video To Learn More

Video Transcript:

Hello Kickstater. My name is David and I’m very excited to share with you my new project. It’s a children’s poetry book called “Have You Seen My Pet Dragon?”

Let me tell you a little bit about this project. One of my son’s favorite things is to grab one of his books and hop into my lap and ask my wife and me to read to him.

I wanted to create something from my own imagination that I could share with my family. This started as a small scale, personal project. It started as a handful of handwritten poems that I was hoping to one day be able to read to my son at bedtime. But just like my son, this project has grown. It’s now a collection of over 220 poems. It’s my dream to bring these poems together in one hardbound collection just perfect for small hands.

I’ve partnered with a wildly talented artist whose illustrations bring these poems to life. Her illustrations are whimsical, fun and really captures the spirit of what it is to be young. We have poems that appeal to everyone. There’s one about a vegetarian lion, there’s one about a time machine. My wife’s personal favorite is one about a pirate and a ninja who decide to switch jobs for a little while. My personal favorite is about two people on opposite sides of the world who don’t realize that they are planning a game of tug-of-war on the same piece of grass.

We’ve put together a few samples that we’re ready to share. I wanted to make something for my son that would last him the rest of his life. Maybe even something he could share with his own children some day. And I want to share that experience with you and your family.

“Have You Seen My Pet Dragon?” is almost ready to hit a child’s bookshelf near you, but we need your support. How many poems we can afford to print and illustrate really depends on the success of this campaign. What we need is the seed money to help get over the initial hurdle of the first round of production.

Please check out our donation tiers as we’re offering copies of the book as well as hand-printed bookmarks and even postcards that are beautiful enough to send or frame. Please help us spread the word on social media so we can bring some awareness to this campaign.


With gratitude,

Martita signature


SMOCA ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

Art. What a revered word. It’s silly to give that much power to three letters: A-R-T. However, I think it’s completely natural. The next step, at least for me, would be to define what art is. And how many books, articles, lectures have been spent debating what “art” is?  Moving past that, I would venture that this fear is rooted in adoration and wanting to create fine works of art myself. So what a treat it is when artists can meld their mediums together!

How I admire those craftswomen and men who know their art on a first name basis. Folks who were at the ART OUT LOUD: POETRY IN THE MUSEUM GALLERIES event tonight at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts (SMoCA).

Art Out Loud

Per SMOCA’s website:

“Poets Sally Ball, Allyson Boggess, Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow, Logan Phillips, Mark Haunschild, Pinna Joseph and Myrlin Hepworth perform new work inspired by art found in the SMOCA Fall exhibitions Narrow Road to the Interior: Contemporary Japanese Artists and Julianne Swartz: How Deep Is Your.”

What follows is my personal recollection of the evening. An evening with poets.

Pinna Joseph

After being introduced to us as poet and event coordinator at Changing Hands bookstore (among other things), Pinna Joseph opened the evening for our intimate group of, perhaps, 30 of us, in front of a serene painting of translucent black leaves and white abstract flower petals. She started with a chant, which startled me. I expected the spoken word. Her confidence was inspiring and put us all to ease. Consider this: some folks are terrified of public speaking and this was public chanting. However, had I caught it earlier from the curator’s introduction, I would have known (but I quickly caught on) that Pinna is a chantress. Her chanting, and perhaps it was her intention, paired with her spoken words rippled through me like the hydrangea petals falling on a smooth pond. 

Yoshiko Shimano

Allyson Boggess

Petite, almost miniature, photos of  swans craning their necks, a dolphin in a tank looking at a woman as if she were the exhibit, stars and other black and white photos of almost supernatural scenes were the inspiration and backdrop for Allyson as she read. Afterwards,  she shared with us how the small photographs and their whimsical images called out to her as they echoed her preferred style of writing poetry.

Bite-size lines that don’t feel fragmented. Staccato.

While it seems she hasn’t updated her blog in awhile, Allyson does have some poems online that I encourage you to check out.

Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow stood in front of a box that, as she pointed out in her poem, we would have overlooked. Considered it a place to sit for a moment. While there were elaborate pieces of artwork that snaked throughout the museum this box was unassuming and yet she made it sing for us.

What I’ve come to admire about Cynthia is her deliberate way. She doesn’t put a word down if it is not important. This can also be said of how she performs. When she shares her poetry — whether it be at SMoCA, at Changing Hands or in a boutique store where women are trying to get some shopping in — she is deliberate. And it is a good thing. Articulating clearly so that we leave knowing that the box before us is filled with love, other secrets and ideas. Holding a pause but keeping her eyes locked so we know there is more to be said and to hold our applause. And, oh boy, did we applaud.

Should you have the opportunity to hear Cynthia share her works, go.  While we’re at it, visit her blog to learn of any upcoming events or new work being published.

Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

Logan Phillips

The curator introduced us to Logan Phillips as the slam poet from Tucson. Or at least that’s what I recalled. This was at the end of the event as things were getting jumbled. Logan’s poem was tied to Julianne Swartz’s “Loop” which was kept in a separate room and we all couldn’t fit in at once.

I was a part of the second group and I followed Logan’s instructions to get as close to the red, yellow, green, pink, blue tangled wires with speaker cones exposed at eye- and ear- level with me. His poem was hypnotic and from the speaker cones came the sounds of insects chirping, footsteps, children laughing and bits and spoken words from languages I couldn’t identify.  Combing the elements together was, in my opinion, like trip hop meets poetry. His words, sometimes loud and clear and others times hushed like a whisper, meshed with the sounds from the “Loop” and my mind wandered. It was delightful.

Be sure to check out Logan at his website or DJing at Palabra in Phoenix mañana.

Ask Forgiveness Now And Giving Thanks

The poets went out for Mexican food after. Mostly to escape the cold and because we couldn’t find the new location of the Cornish Pasty Co. in Scottsdale. No, we mostly went to commemorate the event. I planted myself in the middle and considered myself very lucky to be in the company of poets with different thoughts, styles and approaches.

To Mark  HaunschildSally Ball, and Myrlin Hepworth, I apologize for not having included you in this post. I’ve just run out of time and brain juice. But please, my beloved reader, check these talented poets out too.

And thanks to all the poets for sharing your art with us. With me.

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