The challenge was to create an original short story in an hour. The audience would shout out six words that you would find in the old west, and I had to incorporate them into an original short story on the spot. When time was up, I had to read what I had...finished or not...good or not. I've done them before with mixed results. This time, however, it had to be a kid-friendly story, which meant I had to write a western with no gunfights, cussing, or whiskey.
Now, watching a grown man type on a laptop for an hour is not as riveting as you might think for kids, so while I did my thing, there was a cartoonist named Jonathan Burrello who entertained our pint-sized audience until I could finish. Barnes and Noble along with the City of West Covina sponsored and hosted the event and gave away raffle prizes every fifteen minutes. This event kicks off six months of writing and photo contests sponsored by West Covina and judged by yours truly.
In the end, I created a tale fit for the kids, read it for them and got a rousing round of applause from them and the scattered grown-ups in the room. I like my little tale. I think I am going to ask the cartoonist if he would be interested in bringing "The Adventures of the Two-Cookie Kid" to life in pictures and perhaps seek publication for it. A kid's book...from me...who'd have thunk it?