Making resolutions and being resolute are clearly two different things. I’m doing fine on plans that I have some control over, but other things are more difficult. Writing is still not coming easily but the story is moving along. I realised today that I had hoped to finish it by last Christmas and that this year’s festive season is already looming. The Jaeckels are having a brief interlude in Batavia before continuing their trip. As I try to get more exercise walking early a couple of mornings a week, I spend most of the time mulling over the storyline (when I’m not staggering along, trying not to collapse in front of any of my neighbour’s houses). Perhaps this is why my story is coming together, because I actually have some time to think about what is happening in the story and what I would like to happen. I like to imagine that I am writing a better book by taking the extra time, but that might just be pandering to myself.
I read a lot more children’s literature now than I used to pre-the emergence of literate children and I have noticed that the best books are plot-driven. Many are as carefully and elaborately plotted and written as adult fiction (and in some cases much more so). These kind of well-plotted and written books are a kind of bridge book – books that children and adults can read with equal pleasure. Examples that I have recently read have been Lili Wilkinson’s Scatterheart and Garth Nix’s series The Keys of the Kingdom. Coincidently both authors are Australian and it’s been an unexpected pleasure to learn so much from Australian writers and to simply enjoy their writing. I’ve been meaning for weeks to spend a bit of time thinking and writing about Wilkinson’s book because her plotting and story structure are so good.
I’ve noticed that serious issues aren’t avoided in these books. They are woven into the story as they are woven into our lives. But they are dealt with in ways appropriate to the target ages of the readership. My book (for which I still don’t even have a working title) is aimed at young readers, but it is one that I would like adults to enjoy as well. So I have been mulling over ways to make that happen.
One of my other resolutions was to do with the house and some of that seems out of my control. Painting proceeds apace, but so does the calendar. I worked out that if I continued at the same rate, it would take me another four months (that I don’t have). We’ve fixed up some of the things the council wanted, but they are holding firm on the stair issue. Somehow we have to re-engineer both new stairs to have 75cm wide landings at the top. It’s heartbreaking and frustrating and definitely trying my tolerance, if not my sanity.
Amidst all of this, everyday life continues and my final resolution was to enjoy it and not to let all these other concerns strain over into family life. If I’m successful on any of the above, you’ll read it here.