Ten years ago today, my life changed, though I had no idea at the time. It was August 29, 1997, when a headline in the Obituaries section of The New York Times snagged my attention:

Robert Switzer, Co-Inventor Of Day-Glo Paint, Dies at 83

I went on to read about a head injury at a loading dock, an amateur magic act, and batches of fluorescent paint mixed in a Berkeley bathtub. That was more than three years before another momentous day, the one when it first occurred to me to become a children’s writer. Bob and Joe Switzer’s invention of Day-Glo stuck with me, obviously, but back in ’97 I didn’t see it as a great story I should tell. I just saw it as a great story.

I still do. And I sure can’t complain about the life it’s led me to.