Director of College Press and Printing Services
A funny thing happened to Dwayne Magee, director of college press and postal services, on his way to earning an arts management degree at Messiah. The part-time sophomore student and College employee for the past six years became a published author, thanks to his in-class fictional creation–a blue footed bird named Solly McBoo. What began as a simple classroom assignment for Magee’s spring 2010 Created and Called for Community course has evolved into his first published book.
Magee’s charming children’s fictional tale “A Blue Footed Booby Named Solly McBoo”, published by Goose River Press, will be available this fall through online booksellers Barnes and Noble and Amazon. The book also will be prominently featured in Messiah’s Campus Store in the ‘Campus Authors’ section for $21.95.
Tracing the unlikely path that his story travelled from classroom assignment to the published page, Magee said, “We were assigned a Creation Day project in which we had to create an original work of some kind—music, creative writing, visual art—and I chose to write a story. Without really even thinking about it, I decided to re-tell a bedtime story I’d been telling my children for years when they were younger. My kids loved books about nature, so our story was about a real bird we all thought had a funny name—a blue footed booby—named McBoo.”
And though he had worked on the story sporadically over the years, the urgency of a required classroom assignment spurred him to complete the tale. “I’ve always been a person who needs see the whole story before I can write it. It wasn’t until I realized that I could write without knowing the ending that the words started to flow. After that, the whole story came to me in 48 hours,” he said. Enter Solly McBoo: a loveable, googly-eyed bird with blue webbed feet and some serious doubts about his ability to fit into the bird colony in the Galapagos Islands.
Art major Adam Arditi ‘13, whose illustrations enliven the book’s avian characters, was selected by Magee from a handful of College art students. The Collegeville, Pa. resident credits his art education at Messiah for preparing him for both the technical demands of designing, drawing and painting, as well as the discipline required to complete the project.
A lifelong fan of children’s writer Dr. Seuss, Magee intentionally directed his tale of inclusive excellence to young readers. “Children are the best audience for the message of accepting others despite their outward differences,” said Magee. In one particularly heartening passage of his book, Magee aims a gentle message of reconciliation and acceptance to readers of all ages:
“The worth of a bird is not in its feet. It’s not in its feathers; it’s not in its beak. These things all have value; they’re worth every ounce. But it’s what inside of a bird that counts.”
–Peggy K. Koach
Like any self-respecting bird, Solly McBoo is now on Facebook. Click the FB link and become Solly’s friend.
Posted on July 29th, 2011