I posted the above photograph this week on several Facebook Groups I am a part of with this caption:

Some authors win the Pulitzer Prize. Some authors get a big contract.

These are great, but I was the subject of my granddaughter’s independent study project.

I had many, many Likes & Comments; about 100. Apparently the photo and the topic resonated with many people.
In March I started receiving emails from my granddaughter, Sophia. It started off with, “hi its me sophia your grand kid.” That alone told me I was in for some fun. She chose me as the subject of her Independent Study Project. Many of her research questions revolved around me being an author and my books. One book in particular is important to both of us, The Cats’ Gallery. Although I was the writer, Sophia supplied the artwork … without knowing it.
When our daughter was having our 2nd grandchild, Marsha flew out to Colorado to help with the ensuing chaos. She brought her iPad with her and spent maybe 10 minutes showing 3 year old Sophia how to enjoy some games and a painting app. When Marsha came home she showed me ALL the pictures Sophia made … around 30. They were fun, colorful, and very expressive.
I was just finishing my 1st book, a humorous memoir about growing up as a Baby Boomer, but after seeing Sophia’s artwork I knew immediately that I would have to write my 1st Children’s Book. I wrote The Cats’ Gallery and published it as a Kindle eBook and paperback book. It is about Sophia being an artist, but not too sure if others outside her family appreciated her work. Then one night she comes out of her bedroom to see all the neighborhood cats having a Gallery Opening showcasing her art. Oh, and just in case there is some confusion, this is actually fiction.
Sophia was pretty surprised to receive her own paperback copy of a published book with her artwork. Just last year she read it to her class. Shortly after I got an email from her: “Grandpa, I think I might be famous.” And now she is making me famous … at least in her elementary school.
One of the first blessings I received from writing this book came from Sarah, Sophia’s mom. She said that after being part of the creation of The Cats’ Gallery Sophia now really believes she is an artist. Perfect!! Maybe Sophia can be one of the artists who survives into adulthood with her creativity still intact.
Of course the second blessing, and the best, was having Sophia think me worthy of her Independent Study.
I’m not the only one who thinks this. Here are some of the comments I received from posting this photograph. I know I am in danger of appearing to be bragging, and maybe a little, but I was moved by how people were touched. I think there is something we can learn from this.
– Best accolade you could ever hope for!!! Way to go, Granddad!
– Now that is the best meaningful recognition of all!
– Most prestigious honor there is! Congrats!
– That’s the best Preston! No better award! Congratulations!
– This is great! Congratulations!
– Wow! You couldn’t get a better seal of approval Preston. Congratulations!
-That smile is the biggest reward you could have.
– That’s better than any of the other prizes
– This is the “GRAND PRIZE”!
– How cool is that? Way cool!!!
– Awesome
– THAT made MY day!
– Very COOL!
– Outstanding Preston. Congrats.
– Absolutely priceless. …. Congrats…you have arrived!!!
– Preston, some rewards are truly priceless
– Preston that honor is the best you can get
– So you won the most coveted prize! Congratulations!*
So why all these Likes & Comments? Why did this photo and the topic resonate with so many people?
Maybe because we know there are more important things than creating art for the money.
Maybe we create art to connect with others.
Maybe the creativity found in all of us draws us to something much bigger than we think.
Having my granddaughter think enough of me to be the subject of her Independent Study Project is priceless. It is a bit humbling. I have a lot to live up to.
We create art because we have to create art. And sometimes magic happens.
BTW … did you know I am famous in an elementary school in Colorado? Very cool indeed.
What do you think?
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I’m Preston McCracken, join me in ENLARGING OUR LIVES.