Thursday, February 7, 2008

How It All Began

I thought I'd share a little story about how I came up with the idea for Bea Rocks the Flock in the first place. Well, it all began. . . (time travelling music). . .

In 2003, I spent a year in Australia, getting my master's degree. Look, here's the proof:

And in my time in the southern hemisphere, there was one animal that kept appearing in my life, tickled my fancy, and gradually took hold of my imagination. I know what you're thinking:

But no, it was a different exotic and awe-inspiring animal- The Sheep! It turns out sheep had quite a lot to do with the early success of the colony (don't ask me the details- this was 4 years ago, I can't retain all of that information!) But, sheep definitely still play a role in Australia today, as evidenced by the number of sheep shearings I witnessed.

And if I zoom in on this picture, Mission Impossible-style. . . let me just tap a few keys here. . .

Why yes, the sheep shearer IS blindfolding himself! And yes, that sheep DOES look like it's dead! But that's a real, live sheep. They just go kind of inert when placed in the shearing position. That detail did not make its way into Bea Rocks the Flock- the image is a little traumatizing to me.

So how did all of this sheep shearing work its way into a story about a sheep who disguises herself & changes her appearance in a variety of zany ways? It can all be dated back to this one picture:

Big deal, right? Just a couple of girls chillin' on a sheep bench, what else is new? Well, these two lovely ladies (2 friends from school) and I were breathlessly awaiting 3:00, when the next Fashion Parade would begin. We were visiting the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and spotted the Sheep Shearing & Fashion Parade on the schedule of events, and thought it sounded like a doozy (plus, the diving pig show was full).
Whilst sitting around on this bench, we amused ourselves by imagining what a Sheep Fashion Parade could look like. Would the sheep be dyed outrageous colors, and sheared into the latest styles of woolwear? We imagined our delight, and prepared such exlaimations as "Wool, would you look at that!". Needless to say, we were beyond disappointed when the fashion show turned out to be humans, parading some outfits that were made completely from wool. BUT, the idea lived on, and 4 years later, the Sheep Fashion Parade of my dreams will finally see the light of day.

PS- just to show I'm not making this up, when I looked up the Royal Easter Show URL, I found this on their homepage:

Don't tell me you don't see that trio of sheep up there!

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