Matter is neither created nor destroyed.
This scientific principle is the foundation of Sue Darius’s first book, “Was I a Dinosaur?” which she wrote and illustrated for children ages 3 to 7.
Darius, 67, of Centralia, raised two sons who loved dinosaurs. She knew her sons weren’t alone in this fascination for the long-extinct giants.
After retirement from her work in food quality assurance, Darius turned her lifelong hobby of painting into her full-time job. Her work is on display in the Rectangle Gallery in Centralia. Most of her art is created with oil paints.
Early in the pandemic while locked down in her home, Darius had the free time to focus on her art. She had a story idea floating around in her head that would eventually become her debut book.
“This idea that all the elements on the planet are recycled, just like all our water never leaves the planet, right? It’s all recycled. So the atoms in our bodies may have been used before,” Darius said.
Therefore, she said, the atoms that make up a person may have once made up a dinosaur.
She said she felt the world had become more polarized in recent years, and believed people are too focused on differences, rather than their similarities.
“I wanted to bring out the connectedness that we have. Because we all share the same essence,” she said. “That is what I wanted to introduce to young children. To help give some sort of hope for the world.”
Using dinosaurs to introduce the concept made the book child friendly, she said. “Was I a Dinosaur?” is written in a poem form and illustrated with Darius’s own watercolor paintings.
“For a while I was contemplating writing not in a poem form but it became too wordy,” Darius said. “I don't consider myself a poet at all, but this poem started emerging and then I thought, ‘Wow, this has a message. I think the message is important. I want to get it out there. What can I do?’”
Each page was meticulously painted by Darius while she was struggling with a shoulder injury that required her to stand and paint at a low table with her arm pointed down.
“It took some time, but I had time,” she said.
The book is now finished and she has received a shipment of copies.
Beginning last Friday, “Was I a Dinosaur?” became available at the Rectangle Gallery, HubBub and Flourish Cafe in Centralia. It will also soon be available at Book ‘n’ Brush in Chehalis. Copies cost $18.99.
More information on the book and local sellers can be found at https://www.suedarius.com/, or on the Was I a Dinosaur? Facebook page.