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2020 is a great year to talk about challenges. I'm the type of person who always wants to push ahead and try something new. It's not for a lack of things to do, but more a feeling of accomplishment, of choosing something hard to do and attempting to do it. Over the past few years, I've watched illustrators that I follow embark upon illustrating stories and children's books. It's a goal that I've had, but I didn't really know where to start. For a variety of reasons, I finally felt ready to tackle a short story and characters in time for Folktale Week. Folktale Week is an Instagram challenge that was created by artists to showcase their work. The organizers choose prompts, and everyone who participates shows their work for each prompt on the corresponding day of the week. This year, it started November 23rd, so I'm just finishing up today.

I decided that I wanted to work with one story and the same characters all week to really get familiar with and develop them. I've always loved the story of Hansel and Gretel for the magical, edible house, and I do have some German ancestry, so it seemed like a good place to start. The more I thought about the traditional story, the more I wanted to rewrite it in the point of view of the witch. In my story, The Sweet Sorceress, the witch's name is Lorraine. She moved to the country and built her own house and garden out of pastries and sweets. Lorraine enjoys being on her own and caring for her homestead. One day, two children appear. They are entranced with her magical house and decide to stay. Lorraine isn't sure what to do about their presence. She's always been perfectly happy being by herself, but slowly, she finds that she enjoys the company of the kids. They spend time together, and the loneliness that Lorraine has felt deep within leaves her. She is physically and mentally lightened by the joy the kids have brought with them. In the end, they dance together, back to the children's family, but their joy will remain with her.

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