Monday, 28 November 2016

VERY OLD WALKER BEARS AND LIFE-DESTROYING BRIEFS by Enid Richemont

Some time ago, my writers' group chose to share images of their working environment. These were some of mine. I work in a room full of books, the greater part of them consisting of my late husband David's lifetime's collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction. This small collection sits just to the right of my computer, and the bits and bobs in front of the books hold very personal memories for me. There are two Walker Christmas bears dating from the years I was regularly published by Walker Books (any previously published Walker authors may recognise these - the one on the left came in a kit).  Next to the cuddly bear stands a parrot whose significance I have long forgotten, but I do love him. And then there's a shadowy image of something I will now show you in more detail - yes, it's a pottery cat, and it could well be flying. It reminded David of the flying/gliding kitten in my junior novel DRAGONCAT so he bought it for me.

As you might know, I've recently been working on a screenplay based on one of my early books which has attracted film interest (I'm not allowed to tell you which one yet as it's all under wraps). It has been a fascinating exercise and challenge, involving delving far more deeply into my characters' personalities and lives than I had when I first wrote the book. At present I'm waiting for the next stage which is legal and rights-related, so I won't bore you with that, but script and writing-wise I'm suffering from post-natal depression which, if you either write or give birth - neither very different - you'll know about.

On the subject of boring one's readers, I've recently received a 31 page brief from a (nameless) publisher I occasionally work with. Usually I'm delighted to receive a brief - these days they're a bit thin on the ground - but this one filled me with utter despair. It was like reading one of those wooden English translations from another language, and unbelievably depressing. For anyone out there who is self-published, I do find myself wondering who edits the publishers these days (comments more than welcome.) This may be the first time I will not be responding. Naively, I'd always assumed that well-written attention-grabbing stories were what young readers needed (remember all those fantastic books you encountered - like Dr Seuss - when you or your kids were little?) but the Education Mafia seems to think otherwise.

On the subject of the recent American election, I have said more than enough, so will not repeat myself here, although as a Homo Sapiens-type ape of the female gender, I could do a really deafening jungle SCREAM! 


3 comments:

Bill Kirton said...

I'm reassured by your equation of bookbirth with childbirth, Enid. It's something I've always said and felt about the pleasure of welcoming a newly-published book like a new-born baby. The trouble is, as a man and 3-times-present-at-births father, I know very well I have little right to make the comparison myself.

Oh, and even though those babies I saw arriving are now middle-aged, I can still recite by heart Dr Seuss's Yertle the Turtle and quite a lot of A A Milne.

Enid Richemont said...

To see your children being born is an immense privilege, and one of the greatest gifts a woman can give a man. David saw our first-born into the world, but sadly there were minor complications with the second, so she was born in hospital - not such a positive experience.

Re-bookbirth. For me, it's knowing that the end of the process is nigh, that the world and the people I've been living with must now go out into the real world and be judged, and finally the bookbaby itself. I have a shelf full of bookbabies, the birth of each one duly celebrated, but far too many currently out of print.

Dr Seuss is unforgettable - Green Eggs and Ham, anyone? And were there any grey-whiskered, pen-scratching, fun-killing phonics ratoids snuffling around then?

griseldaheppel said...

Exciting about your screenplay - fingers crossed for the next stage.

Forgive my ignorance, but I'm unsure what exactly this publisher's brief is. Is it a (clearly deeply unattractive in this case!) suggestion for a book, or a series of books? Enlightenment gladly received.