With Book Week done and dusted for another year, I’m taking a moment to reflect.
Every year, writers and illustrators swap anecdotes from sessions and I’m no exception. I generally post these snippets on my Facebook page, tagged as “The Book Week Follies”. Generally, they’re in the vein of “Kids Say the Darndest Things” – things like the reason we didn’t have a car growing up was that it was only horses and carriages back then, that I’m the most expiring author ever, that maybe I should try and be more like Wendy Binks or Andy Griffiths, or that I look nothing AT ALL like my Year 1 photo and what on earth has happened to my face?
These exchanges are amusing and fun, and there was no shortage of them this year.
But sometimes other moments stand out …
The last couple of months have been a busy time for me. As other writers will attest to, Book Week seems to have turned into Book Month somewhere along the line and I’ve only just finished a steady stream of school and library visits. I could give you a bunch of stats here but I’d rather sit down and get some writing done, so instead I’ll just say that I drove a lot, talked a lot, listened a lot, and laughed a lot. It was energising and exhausting, all at once. And bookings are coming in for 2012, which is lovely, but also a little alarming.
I am always amazed by the creative and insightful ideas kids come up with. There was a great wealth of these this year, but I have to say that my favourite comment from a student was: “Meg, you are the most expiring author I have ever met!” Coming at the end of a long day, this was at once motivating and accidentally apt.
In Japanese, that means “It’s been a long time”, and it has. I spent some of the last month travelling in Japan, some of it travelling home, and the rest of it trying to get used to being in Australia again and catching up on the many jobs which seemed to pile upon me the moment I touched down.
I should do a post-Japan wrap-up, but I’m not quite in that space yet. And I have a formal Asialink report to write which needs to take priority.
Book Week is over for another year, which is probably just as well, as I may need the next eleven months to recover! I had another jam-packed week of storytelling, talks and workshops, this year at libraries and schools in the Cities of Stirling, South Perth, Joondalup and Swan. It was fun using this year’s theme of Book Safari to talk about tracking ideas: how do you recognise them as they flash past in the jungle? what do their footprints look like? what happens if you think you’re tracking a deer and when you finally get a good look at it, it turns out to be an elephant? These are the questions that keep me up at night!
I am now officially booked out for Book Week. If you’d like to have me visit your school or library, I’m happy to discuss alternative dates. Just contact me here.
The length of time between this post and the last represents how long it took me to recover from Book Week. Two weeks? Not too bad, I think, given that I had a solid ten days of work, a husband overseas, a sick dog, a daughter turning eleven, and two copyediting deadlines smack bang in the middle.
It was an energising, exhausting and above all, fun week (or two, in the case of some libraries). We talked about images and broken bones and the dangers of too much cotton wool around kids. And ducks. We talked about the way a duck seems to be insinuating itself into everything I write at the moment. After some gnashing of teeth, I have decided not to fight it. When the duck calls your name, it’s a good idea to follow it. In the words of the incomparable Michael Leunig, “I think a nation is in trouble that cannot accept a duck.” Watch this space for some duck-related books hopefully coming your way in the next year or so.
It’s Book Week, people. Start your engines!
I’ve begun receiving final confirmations and details of my Book Week events and have noticed an alarming trend. Many of the documents seem to refer to me as ‘the performer’ and my sessions as ‘performances’.
Should I tell them I can barely carry a tune? That I have absolutely no sense of rhythm? That I’ve never really considered those qualities to be necessary for a writer (although the ability to spell the word ‘rhythm’ occasionally comes in handy)? It looks like I may have to rethink things a little. I’m sure I have those old juggling balls in a box around here somewhere …
If you recognise the lyric I’m quoting above, you are probably too old to read my books!
So, it’s been a while, and there are reasons for that. I’ve had some time off, but am starting to find that writing space again. Here’s a summary of what I’ve been up to over the last month:
Writing: completed a picture book and a short novel and sent them off with fingers crossed. Uncrossed fingers again because I was finding it difficult to type, and started a new novel. This is another short one and is coming quite quickly so far, which is usually a good sign. I’m also working on a picture book, something I’ve been playing around with for a year or so. It’s very conceptual and a bit tricky to write, but I’m in love with the idea, so keep hammering away at it. Hopefully I’ll find a way through soon.
Launching: attended the launch of the FAW(WA) anthology Lines in the Sand, which contains my poem ‘Ancestor Games’.