Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mental rammel

I have various ideas for a blog post but not the wherewithall to craft any of them into a polished stone of pithiness. I am still tired, and also my brain is fried. So here is what I can offer.

I bought a book for the girls called Here We Are

It's by the bestselling children's writer and illustrator, Oliver Jeffers - the author of The Great Paper Caper, the book the girls made me read them 5 times in one day. 

This was the fifth time: note the level of interest.

Jeffers wrote Here We Are after the birth of his first child. The subtitle is Notes for living on planet Earth. It was a rare purchase because I bought it sight unseen. I usually check out books in person first. I'm very choosy. I was disappointed by the book because although it is supposed to be factual, it is full of whimsy, particularly in the illustrations. Whimsy is fine in fiction. But in 'non-fiction' I am not too sure - however laced it is with comments like 'You have a body. Look after it, as most bits don't grow back.'

It is a most unusual book and impossible to describe, especially if you have a fried brain. You, dear reader, must see the book for yourself. Anyway...the book was sitting on the kitchen table and Dave picked it up unprompted and read it. He had no idea of my views, and I asked him what he thought of it. 'I love it!' he said. So did Isaac. And so did Lux. Wendy, Cece and I were not so keen: we would have given it only three stars on Amazon. (Actually, I would have given it two stars, but I try not to post reviews online that are as critical as that. It's  not fair on the author.) 

Why am I telling you all of this? Because it serves as a clear illustration of subjectivity in book reviews, which I know is an obvious point, but when you're a writer, it's a cheering one. We decided that the three members of the family who liked the book have a scientific approach to life. The others don't.

I'll finish by telling you that Chrissie got thirty pages into my rewritten novel and said it still wasn't working. The problem? The same as always - lack of narrative drive. Oh plot, plot. It's a necessary evil and it's my personal bete noire. Still, after the kids went back to Colorado I had an epiphany about what to do. The solution had been there all along. I just have to wait till my brain clears, like a stream after the flood waters have subsided, and I'll begin the novel again. 

p.s. the header shows someone feeding the ducks in Bakewell one January, some years ago, before it was verboten.

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