In an email to my mailing list yesterday I shared how writing a picture book is a slow, scattered and sometimes painful process for me. Somehow a floating idea steadies long enough to allow words to hold and grow it. Often there is involved a mixture of memory and experience, and faith lessons that I've either grappled with or continue to do so. Sometimes I know exactly what I'm doing and why, other times the story weaves its own meaning without my conscious understanding.
"Fearlessly Madison' is a perfect example of this, and the extent to which it had happened didn't really show itself until I took the story along to my playgroup.
While the kids were running about madly in the sand pit and I was relaxing in the sun with a cuppa and conversation, a friend was slowly reading her way through my book. When she finished she came over with tears in her eyes. I don't normally expect my picture books to make people cry. But she was smiling too. 'God's still here, God's still good - even in the dark, with a wet dog in the middle of a storm.' She read my own words to me, words I had ummed and ahhed about so many times, even to the point of nearly editing them from the manuscript. And then she pointed out how similar my description was to that of depression and the comfort it held for an adult reading the text.
And I felt like crying.
Because I knew I hadn't consciously written about fear and depression, but I knew what she said was true. So very, very true. And that God had been at work in the middle of my slow and scattered writing.
© Text Penny Reeve, Illustration Jemima Trappel
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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