Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins
Dear Rowboat Watkins,
I feel like the RUDEst person. I scheduled this blog post to run on June 12, 2015 (yes, 2015), but it never went live. I just found it in my drafts folder. SORRY!!!
Better late than never, eh?
P.S. I owe you a large cake!
I wrote the words in purple, and Rowboat wrote the words in black.
Rude Cakes is the title of my book because calling it At Least One Kid I Know Sure Acts a Lot Like a Petty Dictator Sometimes and It Would Behoove Her to Get Her Narcissistic Act Together Or Else… seemed a titch wordy (and shrill). The book was maybe a little bit inspired by my daughter, who still mistakes my wife and me for vassals. But she’s working on it.
I created the illustrations for Rude Cakes because those good-for-nothing book elves I’ve been waiting for forever never EVER show up (freeloaders), and eventually some patsy has to draw the pictures or there will only be a bunch of words, and BJ Novak already nailed that puppy out of the ballpark, so you gotta stop whining someday and start drawing because Sergio Ruzzier isn’t showing up to ghostdraw the book either. Because he’s busy. Or so he said.
The barcode on the back jacket will turn out to be some people’s favorite part of the book, and it would not be surprising if some folks within this disenchanted constituency try to return it (or re-gift it). I hope they prove to be a very small minority, but the book is already printed and there’s nothing I can do about the fact that some people simply don’t know how to experience joy, and it’s not my fault that barcodes are unsightly or that the book elves were no-shows and that Sergio was busy.
The Maurice Sendak Fellowship was the single most important creative reboot of my whole entire life.
My favorite cake is my daughter. It used to be hazelnut, when I was little. And for a long time after it was coconut layer. The bakery around the corner from me makes an almost indescribably refreshing strawberry shortcake. And my wife makes a wow-worthy pineapple upside-down cake. But when push comes to shove, it’s my daughter. She’s a cream-cheese frosting girl, by the way.
Picture books are not one of the Twelve Labors of Hercules not because they didn’t exist back then (a minor technicality), but because they’re so preposterously hard to pull off well. Who would care about some “legendary” muscleman in a lion skin still weeping at his desk because he couldn’t get his pictures to dance with the text?
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me why the book is dedicated to Antoinette (Portis). It’s because she understands how a picture book works (or doesn’t) better than anyone I know. And because without her tireless pompoms, and generous heart, and brilliant brain, I don’t think I would have had the courage to stay afloat.
Borrow Rude Cakes from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.