Saturday, 14 August 2010

The Climb

How are you all? I'm boondoggling. The copyedit of 'The Beauty Chorus' landed in my inbox yesterday, and when I opened the doc all I saw was red mark ups and a terrifying number of changes tracked. I closed it immediately, of course. But the decks have been cleared, and today the edit begins. I feel a lot like my four year old looks in the photo above, face to face with this huge challenge. Hopefully a quick WKDN post will get the brain cells warmed up. We're half way through the 11 week summer holiday, and daily exposure to Moshi Monsters and Hannah Montana have had a numbing effect on them. When every other sentence begins: 'Muuuumy can I have ..?' it's hard to think in a straight line, let alone with the clarity needed for a final copy edit.

However, in honour of my eight year old's favourite song of the moment, we have a video clip from Miley. 'The Climb' seems appropriate. We went dune-bashing for the first time this week - basically you let the air out of your tyres and hurl 4x4s down huge mountains of sand. The children loved it, the men loved it, I had white knuckles the entire time. Faced with this huge dune, my son wanted to climb it. The pilot convinced him it was probably more fun to run down it (which he did - I could hardly bring myself to look over the edge). The desert is beautiful - I was feeling quite Kristen Scott Thomas, heading out into a dazzling sea of white sand, at least until we were overtaken by a Land Cruiser going at 100mph.

The photos of the children in the desert reminded me of 'Oscar and Hoo' - a brilliant book about a small boy and a cloud who find one another there. Like all the best childrens' books it has wonderful lines: 'I give you my cloud's word, I'll never leave you.' What are some of your favourite lines that you've never forgotten? I also love Max in 'Where the Wild Things Are' feeling lonely and wanting 'to be where someone loved him best of all', and the unforgettable sentiment in 'The Little Prince' where he talks about the need to 'prepare your heart' to meet the person you love. The best children's books express very complicated emotions with breathtaking simplicity - we could all learn something from that.

TODAY'S PROMPT: As much as I love boondoggling, procrastination is the writer's worst enemy. Yes, I know cleaning the oven suddenly seems irresistible but keep writing. It's the difference between finishing that first draft of a book or being an also-ran who runs out of steam halfway up the mountain. If you're stuck - or worse, blocked - the best way I've found is to come at your work sideways. Write something else - morning pages, a first person 'talking head' take on your character - write anything, but don't stop moving forward. Try the old trick of leaving your last sentence unfinished so you are forced to pick up the flow the next day. Just like mountains are climbed one step at a time, books are built one word at a time - keep going, you can do it.
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