Sometimes it feels very quiet here at my desk. Hopeful manuscripts are off being read and considered by new publishers. My patience is tested as I wait, and check emails, and wait some more.
Projects that have already been accepted progress slowly through an editing process apart from me, occasionally popping back onto my desk for another check, a tweak here, a reworking there.
I have the occasional speaking event that I prepare for (this year being a deliberately quiet one in that regard), but there's not too much preparation required.
So I just chug along with my notebooks and laptop forming new stories from the fragments of ideas I collect on the way home from school or the beginnings of research for something larger.
It's quiet, but it's not stagnant.
It's productive, but not frenzied and there isn't much to show for the work that goes on.
Until I get an email, like I did this week, with the cover image of the new book due for release in a couple of months. Behind the scenes, without my input, the illustrator and design team have been bringing another one of my books to life. This time it's Keep On Keeping On, the seventh book in the Dig-In Discipleship series.
Here it is. Due out in July.
And I think it's looking good.
In the holidays before last I took my kids on the train into the city.
(I suppose it's one of the good things about living in Sydney; there are a lot of things to see and explore. But how easy it is to just take things for granted and get into the rut of doing the same old thing, ignoring all there is around us to learn?)
This particular day, we visited the Hyde Park Barracks Museum. It's a unique building with an interesting history including the accommodation of convict labour gangs, a transition dwelling for immigrant women and the judicial system. We entered one room which contained wooden boxes. In each box was the story of a woman who had traveled from the other side of the world to make Australia her home in the 1800s. We opened boxes, read diary entries, lay on the steel framed beds and tried on replica bonnets and skirts. (Okay, the boys didn't do that bit, they were more interested in the spy hole in the wall of the room next door!)
But I got to thinking, isn't that why we like stories so much? Whether they are the true stories preserved in museums or made up stories between the worn covers of our favourite novel? Because by engaging in story we get to 'try on' the lives of others. We wander in our imagination, thinking about what it would be like to have faced similar challenges. Or how it may have felt to walk those spaces and places so different from our own. And how would it have shaped the person we are, or would have become?
We try on the past for size. We try on a fictional world. And in doing so we learn more about who we are today, and what we might become.
The Penny Drops
In high school I used to write what I'd call 'thinks' - little bits of writing about whatever topic or issue I was mulling over at the time. I still write these little pieces.
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