PW #215: Middle Grade Contemporary Animal Story: CALL ME ALASTAIR
Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Amanda Hill, Cindy Baldwin
Mentee Name: Cory Leonardo
Title: CALL ME ALASTAIR
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Contemporary Animal Story
Word Count: 53,000
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN meets FLORA & ULYSSES, (mixed format, three POV):
All disgruntled, de-feathered parrot Alastair wants is to fly off with his beloved sister,
retire in a palm tree, and feast on Norton Anthologies. But when that sister goes home
with pre-pre-med student Fritz, and elderly dance-enthusiast Bertie adopts Alastair, the
future looks grim…and full of polkas. Alastair’s keen plotting reunites the two birds
at last, but when one final escape looms large on the horizon, he’ll be forced to
choose between the life he’s always dreamed of and the love that will cost him
A FISH BIRD STORY
“Call me Ishmael.”
I ate that sentence once
in a thick steak of a novel.
It wasn’t my usual diet of
Keats, Whitman, Frost,
but it tasted alright anyway,
a little salty maybe, a smidge
fishy, but good.
I prefer the poetry though.
Since the first time I wrapped my
beak around the meat of a
Norton Anthology, I was a
fish on a line—hooked.
When all your tongue has known
has been the blandness of
phone books, the sour snack of
tax forms, the cardboard-y flavor of
cardboard, that first bite of Shakespeare
is nectar, I tell you. Almost makes
a fella forget there are other books
to chew, the way it satisfies long.
And the act of remembering,
regurgitating—it fills the taste buds once more…
“Call me Ishmael.”
I ate that sentence once and knew
it would come back to me to be savored again
if ever I set out to write my story.
And it has.
Just like the poems, it’s come back,
filled my beak, taken flavors
old and new, same and
I am a bird.
These are my poems.
This is my story.
Call me Alastair.