and the Guk
"Georgia and the Guk" began with a dream a cousin recounted when I was a kid--about a garbage eater with a transparent stomach. The image stuck with me, and in college I wrote a story, "Georgia and the Garbage Eater," and sent it to Harpers. It came back with this classic rejection: "This story is too much like one Margaret Wise Brown might do for us some day." (Honest--I still have the letter.) If Harpers ever published such a book it bears no resemblance to my story. A good many years later I took the old story, rewrote it, and illustrated on great large sheets using a new invention--the magic marker. This was in a lovely class taught by the artist Howard Fussiner, at Southern Connecticut State College. This time I sent it to Lippincott, and their response was, "We're really a very conservative press--we've never published anything like this!" This was just before Sendak changed children's picture books forever with "Where the Wild Things Are," also back when publishers wrote real rejections. My kids loved the book, but I didn't send it out again--for one thing, it was far too big and costly to keep mailing. Lately, in a writing group where we were discussing the word "hork," I remembered the guk and showed the book to them. It was a hit--so now it's been translated to modern media, and is pending publication. If the Guk is your meat--er--garbage, contact me for details.