My #1 tip for PiBoIdMo 2009? Celebrate the Weird Stuff in life. It’s good material for stories.

cowboycampLate one evening a weird thing happened to me. After my husband and I tucked our kids in, we heard an unexpected knock at the door. I opened it and found a kid standing on my front porch. He was selling newspaper subscriptions in an effort to go to…Cowboy Camp. I looked at this kid with his everywhere hair and thick glasses and uncowboy-like everything and knew I had a story.

Another weird thing happened a few summers ago. I was visiting my sister who, at the time, lived in a gorgeous area outside of Plymouth, Massachusetts. I loved every bit of the trip—except for my early morning wake-up call.

Each day the sun would come up around 4:30AM and the rooster who lived on the nearby farm would let me know it. Each morning my dislike for that rooster grew. And grew. I got to hoping that bird was missing out on a lot of barnyard fun since he had to make sure he was ready to greet the early morning sun in such a loud and enthusiastic way.

Sooo…since I was up anyway…I started brainstorming. What did that rooster miss out on? What had the other animals been up to when he was catching his zzzzzs? Then I knew—a barnyard talent show.

chickendanceThe joke’s on me, though. In Chicken Dance the rooster didn’t sleep through the talent show after all. Instead, he ends up being one of the stars of the story as everyone who partakes in the competition is out for the grand prize—tickets to see Elvis Poultry in Concert: The Final Doodle-Doo.

Not all of my ideas show up at my door or wake me up at 4:30 in the morning. How I wish that were the case! But many of them do begin with Weird Stuff.

Today I want you to brainstorm some of the weird things in your life.

Do you live with a Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroach? Do you come from an enormous family? Did you grow up on a pig farm? Have you had a strange run-in with a squirrel? With a rhino?

Go on. You know you’re weird, too. Get some paper and let’s celebrate it.

Tammi Sauer is the author of seven picture books (and counting). You can find her online at and

Tammi’s Picture Books:
Cowboy Camp (Sterling, 2005)
Chicken Dance (Sterling, 2009)
Mostly Monsterly (S&S, 2010)
Mr. Duck Means Business (S&S, forthcoming)
Princess-in-Training (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, forthcoming)
Oh, Nuts! (Bloomsbury, forthcoming)
Bawk and Roll (Sterling, forthcoming)