Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Feeding the heart! Feeding the soul! Creating ceativity!

Went to MoBay: From the luscious green vegetation on rolling hills and grand mountains, the blue and white sea against the yellow ochre sand, the grandeur of the Gorge, trees with tight, straight trunks holding fast to the rock walls, to the dry plains, brown pods of the Woman's Tongue trees, like elongated blooms. Feeding the heart, feeding the soul. Lord, this country is beautiful!

This was how I felt. And why am I telling you, dear readers, apart from the fact that you might also feel the same if you live here or you’ve been here, is because, lo and behold, before I was even into the Gorge (retuning home) the story ideas were flowing fast. Had to take out a notebook to capture them quickly. So I guess this is nothing new. Commune with nature and creativity wells up. Aha! And it was after two days of rest. It did not happen on the outward journey. Mind you, we had taken the Sligoville road, which is enough to toss away any thought of anything but where the next pothole, throwing you onto the wrong side of a mountain road, might be.

So was it the rest or was it the beauty of the country? Every thing I saw, I’ve always loved. I am passionate about the Woman’s Tongue Trees in the dry season. When you come upon a group of them, they are like flowering trees, to me as beautiful as Poui or Poinciana Trees. And yes, this does lead back through the highways and the byways of thought to children’s literature. My book, Gammon and the Woman’s Tongue Trees celebrates that passion.

So having entered 2011 wondering what to write, here I am, renewed. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could just trust in the process as it unfolds. So yes! Respect the talent! Respect the gift!
Trust the process!

Just thought of it.I would love to see Gammon and Debonair redone in colour! In a way that celebrates the beauty of the island.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

What to write in 2011?

For those who are asking the same question and waiting for inspiration, you are not alone.

By now I’m supposed to be well into my third Time Travel adventure. As I said previously, I was ready to write: time period coming through, beginning to hear the characters' voices; even wrote a first paragraph ... and then between the floods from Hurricane Nicole and Hurricane Tomas, which kept us on edge for a week and then didn’t really come, (thank God), all ideas became entangled with the desire to write about winds and roaring waters, which was already done in the last Time Travel book, The Ring and the Roaring Water. And you are saying, 'Wasn't that a very long time ago?' Yes, but you would be surprised how time flies when you aren't writing. (And besides I was revising another young adult novel). Anyway, so I was set adrift, without an idea, except that I wanted to make a boy character play a more prominent part than Joseph and Ian had in the two previous Time Travel books. Of course, I have the house in which most of the action will take place - there is always a house ...

My friend, Hazel, who sends me all sorts of brilliant marketing ideas from her Internet browsing, said wouldn’t it be great if I could run a competition about ideas for the next Time Travel adventure, that is, let the readers decide where it should be. The first was in the 1907 earthquake in Kingston, the second, 1951 Hurricane Charlie in Kingston. So that’s an idea. Except we don’t know how to even begin to go about it ... Does anyone have a suggestion as to how this might work?

Actually what I really need is a manager to take my disparate titles (which belong to me, as opposed to those which belong to the Ministry or have a home with a publisher) and
1. Put them on Amazon for a start. People keep saying they don’t see my books on Amazon and where can they get them overseas. Well, actually, I have found that it’s not just that simple to get books onto Amazon. It seems that you need to have an American address.
2. Or turn them into E-books. I attended a very interesting presentation on that and I should look into it further.
3. Investigate print on demand, about which we hear mixed reports, but which might solve some of the other problems, and
4. Generally market them appropriately.

If anyone overseas sees an opportunity here, I’m sure that you’d get quite a few other authors in Jamaica who would be interested in your services.

The point of this is, thinking about business matters gets in the way of writing. However I must remember, 'Respect the gift!'

Another idea: should I write a book about a boy now that I’ve had a sort of epiphany after reading with boys? (described in a previous post). I knew it before, but it's one thing to know something academically, another to experience it.

However, rather encouraging, since I started writing this post (in the new year) an idea has been coming through ... just have to capture it ... and see if its the one ... Will the character say anything? ...

I suppose that if all else fails, I can always check on my other characters from other stories at other times to see if any of them have any other stories they want to tell ...

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 segue into 2011: Respect!

2010! Pretty good, after all, when you think I started a blog, something I thought I'd never be able to do. How would I ever write a blog? I viewed writers of blogs like the uninitiated in ancient times must have viewed the monks who created books closeted away in their little cells. Come to think of it, the process may not be far removed. I found a voice which was me; I wrote about things I wanted to write about. Initially shy, I had to say to myself every now and then, 'It's your blog! You can write about what you want to write about'. I have also been able to indulge my childhood delight of having 'pictures illustrate my thoughts', words. Discovered how to move images about; in the process, discovered that you can also lose them when you are moving them about.

So thanks to those who read my blog, and also to those who commented; nice comments. I have not identified any filtering system attached to my blogging process, so maybe I'm lucky that the comments were nice. But really, thanks for hearing my voice on children's literature.

There were other things I wanted to write about, but having limited myself to blogging dates, once a week, as opposed to blogging time (time can be a whole half day to edit; time you put in pictures, time you lose them, find them, etc), these topics did not materialise. Perhaps in 2011!

2011! Here we are! Happy New Year to all of us! Wishes that we will all achieve and exceed our writing desires.

My resolutions are usually very flexible, a work in progress, which is why I guess the same things keep appearing year after year. However one resolution, made long before the New Year, somewhere in 2010, no doubt after some epiphany, was, 'respect you' talent', 'use you' gift. This actually translates for me into write 'even if you don't feel like it today'. And do not hide behind the free-lance work! It's so easy to say, 'What you expect? Well, I have to work! (as if nobody else does) getting increasingly dramatic; usually a bit over the top, wounded and self-righteous. Therefore, must make time for creative writing amongst time for freelancing writing, and if there must be drama, put it into the writing.

So along with things about finding out about marketing/finding publishers, etc., for 2011, paramount is, 'Respect my gift'.

I hope that in my blog, I'll write things that you will find interesting; I hope that some of the things I write will resonate with some of you who are writers and know the anxieties, the passions, the writer's block times, the times when you're writing and the words are coming so fast that you're up on the ceiling, and have to pull yourself down from that high, and try to sleep. (It usually happens at night, it seems.)

And yes, the images. Symbolic of the girl, and her first published book, who did not know then how many more she would eventually write, and who is now the woman who can write a blog about writing children's books. (However, it's mostly because there must be pictures.) The Funny Grey Cloud, published by Ministry of Education, Publications Branch. The artwork is done by Donny Miller. Love the trees! Love the colour!

Glorious writing to all of us for 2011.