In My Wildest Dreams: Adventures in Children's Fiction

The magic of the mundane.

The irony of this week is that I have spent more time reading about writing: The Bradbury Chronicles - the life of Ray Bradbury by Sam Weller - than I have working on my own book.

I made a faltering start to writing on Tuesday, having come to a natural break at the end of a chapter on Friday. I needed to push the story forward and it was tricky. 16,000 words into a project; that always seems to be difficult. I didn't come up with much. Then Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday mornings were disrupted by mundane things to do with day to day living that needed my attention. (I can't complain. I don't have a day job to go to). But it is does highlight the importance of routine and just sitting there day after day accumulating words.

Today, Friday, I was at the desk by 8.00 a.m and worked until 10.30. I wrote 820 words, which may not be my best, but it was a restart. Then just before lunch another 200 to round off the 1000.

Now it's the weekend. It will be hard to start again next week and there are more life things to attend to. That is the way it is. But I must never stray from the desk too long. Writing is a rhythm of mornings for me. I don't know any other way to do it.
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Back on the road thanks to Cormac McCarthy

What is my impetus to write? I certainly know what the barriers are. That's easy. A glimmer of sunshine in a wet summer, a trip to the coast, the prospect of new birds on a SW gale, sitting in cafes, fiddling with technology - which still seems like magic to me.

I've had a writing lay-off for about two weeks, for all the reasons above in no particular order.


So I'm back to my revisions of The Key to Finlac today and it has gone reasonably well. Up early. A fresh look. New ideas. An impetus. Clarity. For now.

So what was it that brought me back to the desk, apart from the remnants of discipline? I think it is because I believe that fifteen year olds are better off reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road, than they are The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. If you want to read about the human spirit in a dystopian setting, better off taking a journey on The Road, full of challenge and in the end enlightenment about what is of value in this world. And then there is Ray Bradbury. He wrote so much, and if there was ever a cross-over author it is him.

Writing is the thing; literature is what matters. It's worth spending the time. And the effort. Of course it helps to have role-models and a little inspiration.

Hey, Ray Bradbury... you left somethin' behind.

On 27 March I wrote in my blog entry titled "Sunshine Stopped Play": I have ordered a second-hand edition of Ray Bradbury's "Dandelion Wine" (my copy has long gone - and you can't get it on the Kindle.) I want to read the scene again where Douglas Spaulding puts on his new tennis shoes and races off into summer.

And now Ray Bradbury has gone, in body anyway. The sound of tennis shoes on gravel remain. Why is Ray Bradbury more important for me than many other other writers? He straddled the past and the future; he recognised the present. He captured childhood in a jar, let us look at if for a moment and then released it to fly wherever. He looked at the stars through the lens of a soda bottle and saw things clearly. He saw people as they are. Ray Bradbury's stories, however disturbing, always left me feeling that we have it in us to do better, to put things right if only we can come to terms with our restless yearning and realise that we would never have all the answers. Because there are none.

Ray Bradbury was an influence and still is. In that sense he is there I'm my Timeline with Dylan & The Beatles. 

My secondhand copy of Dandelion Wine did arrive. It looks as if it as never been read. Shame. I shall pick it up, read it, then pass it on. Ray Bradbury still has something important to say. 

Sunshine Stopped Play - Writing is just not Cricket

Lingering. Not malingering - I think -  today. Sunshine has waylaid my plans for writing. No bad thing. Time for reflection and letting the book settle. I could never up sticks to Provence or Tuscany (even if I could afford it.) I would never get anything done, except - perhaps - in the two months either side of Christmas.

I tell myself that I can undertake ebook formatting of Badgerman & Bogwitch and revisions of the new book in the evenings if I feel inclined. After all there is time. I have set a deadline for end of September 2012 to start full-tilt on an entirely new project.

I have been reflecting on the Wind in the Willows, as I do every Spring when it suddenly appears. It is a book I can admire from the perspective of childhood. I indulge it. It is beyond criticism. It is synonymous with sandwiches eaten by ten-thirty a.m., hungry again by twelve, ravenous and pooling small change for wine gums by three.

I have ordered a second-hand edition of Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine (my copy has long gone - and you can't get it on the Kindle.) I want to read the scene again where Douglas Spaulding puts on his new tennis shoes and races off into summer.

And all the while, I have been contemplating The Hunger Games and what it means for childhood. I have not read it yet or seen the movie. So I can only have fears and no opinions. Who knows, The Hunger Games may yet prove to be a metaphor for publishing?