Wallabies in the Bathroom

How many people have a wallaby toilet paper holder? Not many. They are cute animals. So why don't more of us have them?

Recently my husband and I rented a house for a few days in northern Michigan. We saw photos on the Internet of the family's big game hunting exploits. Stuffed heads (and complete animals—more than 70) hung on the walls. They were above eye level, and I could ignore most of them. I didn't look up much. My daughter is a vegetarian. Enough said.

In two of the bathrooms taxidermied wallabies held the toilet paper like a servant from bygone times. That gave me paws.

Once I got over the shock of a wallaby's adorable face, furry ears and vacant eyes—and avoided the little paws—I thought it might be an opportunity for inspiration.

I recently revised and finished a picture book for my four-year-old granddaughter I wrote and illustrated a long time ago. The illustrations were crayon drawings. The story had little plot, no conflict and no satisfying ending. I rewrote the story with a plot, conflict and an ending. With Photoshop Elements I turned the illustrations into a cute little story about a frog who escapes from an octopus. I know frogs and octopi live in mutually exclusive environments, but my granddaughter loved it.

Inspiration can come anytime, anywhere. A story began gestating in my mind. I have a vague idea of a picture book about a wallaby. But I'm not an artist. I'm a digital scrapbooker. I don't have a clue how to draw a wallaby. If I figure that out I can use Photoshop to separate the drawing into its disparate parts, then cobble them together in different poses. The wallaby in my story will never encounter a hunter, because that's too scary for little children. He will have an adventure, escape some difficulty and live happily ever after.

My granddaughter is enamored of princesses. How about a wallaby princess who wants to have adventures instead of being rescued by the handsome wallaby prince? Princesses can do anything: have adventures, slay dragons, rescue princes. A tale of star crossed lovers whose wallaby clans have been feuding forever? Or the wallaby princess who rescues the wallaby prince from the big bag wolf.

Right now I'm in Vermont on a mountain with my son's in-laws. No wallabies here. Last night while we slept I think the forest crept closer to the house. I'm going to pace it off to see if it really did. There's a premise for a creepy horror story: what happens when the trees encroach on the house? Hopefully, I won't be around when that happens. I'm leaving in the morning.

The point is that inspiration comes in many forms. We just need to look and truly see, and listen with our hearts.

Wait. There is so much wilderness here in the Green Mountains. What if a woman's car breaks down on a country road, and, when she goes for help, she meets a seemingly ordinary family who conceals a horrible secret. There's a creepy story there somewhere. Beware, this won't be a child's cautionary tale about a wallaby. You won't want to go outside in the dark after you read this one....

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