I have been working on two pieces of writing this week. My December resolution seems to have done the job, and whilst I haven’t written every day I have relished that blissful state of being immersed in creative writing – though interestingly both pieces have their roots in fact.
One more solidly so: each year at around this time since Arthur was almost one I have written a book about the previous twelve months – lots of photos, and words that attempt to capture the essence of his adventures and how he has grown.
The first was a chunky board book made by a company in the states. I couldn’t actually find anyone who would create a custom one off in the UK (business opportunity anyone?), so that was pretty expensive… The next two I made myself using blank board book templates. Totally achievable, especially with some sticky-backed printer paper, but more than a little time-consuming.
This year I really couldn’t face the logistics of actually putting the book together, and now that Arthur is old enough that chewing books isn’t generally in his repertoire I figured a standard paperback would be fine. So I went to Blurb, and used their very excellent software to put this year’s book together. It would have been almost entirely painless had I not left it until the last day for ordering to get it delivered in time…
I can’t wait to see it, and to read it with him. It’s interesting for me seeing how these books are developing year on year: there’s a lot of rhyme, and more so this year just because there’s more text in general. There’s also definitely more imagination creeping in, reflecting Arthur’s cognitive growth and understanding. I think as he gets older the foray into metaphors might be quite fun – and there will still be the base pleasure for him of a story that is based on his own experiences.
The second piece I’ve been writing this week is too, in a way. It was inspired by something Arthur said to me a little while ago – actually woke me up with, as in crept into my room and whispered it into my ear whilst I was still half-asleep. He said “I dreamt this house was the Millennium Falcon, and outside was the entire galaxy”.
Recalling that now I guess I could have taken the story it inspired into a whole intergalactic sci-fi direction, but in fact the world it brought to mind (particularly in the context of those sleepy mornings) was one where a mother and son were trapped, facing seemingly unsurmountable challenges together.
It has an aura of Room about it, but it’s actually closer to 28 Days Later – without the zombies. I really enjoyed the process of writing from a very intimate, domestic starting point and through my characters (who are not exactly me and Arthur) discovering a whole other backdrop to their existence that I had no clue about when I began.
I took the time to plan once I started to realise what was going on, though, so I think I know where things are headed now. One, or maybe two, more sessions and I should have a first draft done – and I’m quite excited about crafting this piece into something submittable.
It’s all been a wonderful reminder of how utterly inspiring hanging out with a little person all day really is. There is no doubt that it’s hard work, and sometimes I find myself wishing that I had more hours in the day that were not filled up with the mundanity of family life.
But it took having a child to finally empower me to realise my dream of becoming a writer: and when I take a moment to stop and reflect on just how magical that child is it is not hard to understand why.
How lovely. I love the idea of the board books made by you specifically for Arthur. And I’m excited about your short story. I hope to read it one day! All the best for Christmas. 🙂
Those books look and sound amazing! I’ve made photo books before of holidays or special occasions and friendships too, but I’ve never really written in them beyond the descriptions of what/who the photos are of. I think it’s a gorgeous idea that your books are something more – really something to treasure forever! I also love the way Arthur has inspired you to write that story. I look forward to reading it! Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xx
That short story sounds great – very intriguing!
Just wow. Reading this actually makes my heart ache Sophie. For reasons that ate obvious and don’t need to be said out loud. Your books sounds amazing, hope Arthur enjoys his one this year. Look forward to hearing more about the other story too. Well done for making the time to write creatively, I so very much need to do the same xxx
How brilliant to have such different but important creative stimulation from your child. He is a very lucky boy to have you as a mother as are you to have him. Those books you wrote for him sound amazing btw, I’d love to know more, I hardly even manage Birthday cards for mine! Xx