My friend in Australia sent me a few paragraphs to look at. I have a friend in the States who has written a book and is trying to get it published at the moment. I know several people who are in the process and to me, this constitutes “everyone”. Except me. Okay, that's not strictly true. I am sort of writing a novel. Mostly in my head. In the shower. As I fall asleep at night. I make notes on my blackberry while I'm watching “Pregnant in Heels” on the Bio Channel (- it's research, okay?). While cooking, I listen to podcasts of Mariella Frostrup's Radio 4 literary programmes. I even attended the London Book Fair a few years ago and gave myself the title of “Author”. But I haven't done a great deal of actual writing. This wouldn't be such a terrible thing if I hadn't been going on about this writing lark to anyone who would listen for the past two decades. I thought that by sharing this intention, I would shame myself into doing it - but I only discovered I have no shame.
Anyway, about 6 months ago, in a bid to blackmail myself into action, I confessed my plans to Mini-Me and made an actual commitment – nay a PROMISE to my impressionable 9 year old for whom I am number one role model that I would complete my opus this year. Now our conversation is peppered with related, anxiety-producing queries.
When I'm cooking: “What's your book about, Mummy?”
“It's about a woman who's trying to write a book.”
When I'm doing Sing and Sign work on the laptop: “Can I read your book, Mummy?”
“When you are 21.”
When we are putting our coats on to go out: “Will you dedicate your book to me?”
When I'm kissing her goodnight: “Have you written your book, Mummy?”
When I'm checking my email: “Is that your book?”
It's like living with a very short literary agent.
Now that Mini-Me has assumed this role, I can drag her along to inspirational literary events. It's not that torturous. For example, the Bloomsbury Festival last October featured an abundance of literary-themed activities for all. My friend and her kids came along and our favourite was the “Poet's Path” where we picked our poem's words, supplied on linkable cards, built phrases, then hung them in strips under the branches of the trees, so eventually people were walking through a tunnel of poems. Really beautiful and romantic. We fashioned charms out of various bits of old tat, like buttons, ribbons, labels and other miscellany which were then hung on a tree to twinkle in the fading, golden sunlight; messages like “You are the best mum in the world” twirling and intermingling with “She broke my heart”.
Our kids donned various props and sat in a vintage photo-booth, laughing in amazement as the black and white pictures popped through the little window. Of course there was also the not so small disappointment of the “Candle Magic” workshop at Treadwells Esoteric Bookshop which, if my friend and I had read the description properly, we would have known had nothing to do with child friendly illusions and everything to do with a white witch offering advice on incense burning, casting spells and other freaky-deakiness. Every time our children turned around and whispered, “When is the magic show going to start?” we couldn't suppress our laughter.
Mini-Me is a voracious eater of books, so this year, I really want to take her to “Hay Fever” which is the kids version of the Hay Festival and runs alongside it from 31st May to 10th June. It came as no big surprise last week when she came into the living room and announced, “I'm writing a book, Mummy! I know what the story is, and the characters. I'm so excited! Please can you tell me how to make the pages? Should it start with the title? What about the cover?”
“Darling,” I sagely advised, “if you want to write a book, all you need to do is not faff, but actually start writing anything. Just get something out and it will all flow.”
“Okay!” and she ran upstairs and that very minute, started writing.
Like I said, everyone is writing a book....
For more Life on the Edge and event links, visit mynotesfromtheedge.blogspot.com. Angelina runs award winning Sing and Sign baby signing classes. More info at www.singandsign.com.
Hay Fever Festival link:
Bloomsbury Festival link: