November 4th, 2013
Lately , when I wasn’t trying to write, seemingly unable to finish a manuscript, (and occasionally sending it out only to hastily demand it back) I was listening to podcasts. Whether I appeared to be deep in thought on the subway or choosing apples at the greenmarket, I was in actual fact immersed in a conversation on the BBC about what Lauren Bacall might take to a desert island, or a Ted talk that made me love something I previously thought I had hated. Mostly though I hungrily devoured interviews with authors fed me through earbuds. I assumed I did it to get some clue or insight into the secret of how I would finish my novel. As I continued to listen though I began to notice it wasn’t that. In fact I was hardly listening. I’d heard it all by now, and yet I was waiting to hear something else.
I found out what that was one day while climbing a flights of stairs. When asked how she knew when she had finished a novel Maxine Hong Kingston explained she never did finish. For that reason Ms Kingston told her interviewer, her paperback books are often very different from the hardback editions. I stopped half way up the stairs already gloating. Even in bookshops, she explained, she has been known to get out a pen and begin to make changes. Ms Kingston said all of this not as though she thought it was either especially cute, or particularly exasperating, just as a simple statement of fact and for this fact I adored her. I guess I just wanted to one up someone. Because, of course, I would never do that even if I wanted to.
February 21st, 2012
In order to dig deeper into this business of writing for kids I have been reading more kids’ books. Sort of. Many of them turn out to be “cross over” but officially they are for children. Fascinating how a book I may have read as a child is such a different experience to read as an adult. The Little Prince struck me as overly cute. Almost like it had too much sugar I don’t think I was even able to finish it. Now I’m struck by how original it is and profound. That’s a little strange. Oh but I was older then, I’m younger than that now.