(Why I wrote Night Night Hamlet)
This happened by a happy accident. I was out walking with my two daughters one night in the town of Carbondale, Pennsylvania where we lived. I would often take them for walks as we lived near town and loved to walk to the nearest diner or doughnut shop. As was our custom, we went for a walk one evening, just my two daughters and me. On the way downtown we could see houses on the many hills that makeup the city. We walked down the old streets, having the entire town to ourselves as it was late in the evening. We made our way down main street, window shopping in some antique stores.
Payment Was Doughnuts
The payment for time with my daughters was doughnuts, and they expected to be paid! Sure enough, there at the corner of river street stood the local doughnut shop, with lights shining, welcoming us in for food and hot chocolate. But, I had different plans for them, better plans. You see, on the opposite corner of main street, several stores down, there sits a little diner near the town square. I encouraged my two girls that I had something wonderful for them, but it would not be doughnuts tonight. With some disappointment and a bit of curiosity, they walked with me to the diner. It was near closing time, but we ducked in anyway, cramming into a very small booth. The waitress asked for our order and we replied, “cakes and coffee please, cakes for them, coffee for me.” My daughters happily ate their slices of chocolate cake with chocolate icing, we paid (and tipped) the very tired waitress her charge, and we hurriedly left as they wanted to close the diner.
Some Small Some Very Large
On our way home, we walked up the streets, looking at the houses, some small, some very large. Some houses in the town had little apartments, some blocks are filled with a single great big Victorian home. As we progressed up hill, away from the town, we saw a large home for sale, a home with grand steps leading up to a large porch. My girls went up the steps and had a jolly old time looking in the windows. We moved on from there back through the town to the only parking lot in the little hamlet. From atop the garage, you can see the entire down town and the large church steeples illuminated with their lights. After starring at the town for a while, we hiked back up the hill to our home. Back to the bed time routine, prayers, stories, pajamas, and pillows. “Lights out, night night girls.”
Night Night Hamlet Is Born
For reasons I don’t remember, I decided to write down the entire trip in the form of a poem and then posted it on my social media page. Much to my surprise, several friends liked the poem, even commenting that “it sounds like a story.” Eureka! I had a new direction in my writing pursuit (I had previously dabbled in science fiction work). Children’s stories. That poem went through 20 revisions and launched an entire series of stories that are now in the works about the town, new characters, and adventures. My daughters became Penny and Maya in the story. I transformed into Papa Bear and my wife became Momma Bear. We do have a son and he will appear as a character in future stories.
Little Diner Town Square
I truly enjoy this pursuit and invite you to come along with me on this journey through the Hamlet, the little town of Bear Ridge. Come and meet the Bear Family, their neighbors, and all of the wonderful things that they have to share with you. So there you have it! A children’s book author that started as a science fiction writer (I am still that guy), who was inspired by a little trip downtown with his two daughters.
Clint Plyler was born and raised in South Carolina. He now lives in Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife April and three wonderful children. You will often find him at the nearest coffee shop with his laptop and sketch book, writing or sketching. He is the author of Night Night Hamlet.