I’m working on another draft of my new middle grade novel. Yes, that one. Since Charles Darwin plays a role, you’d think I’d be fine with it taking eons to evolve, right? With all its random mutations, directional selections, and internal combustions (wait, maybe that’s cars, not creatures). By now I have two folders full, enough paper that, if it were bank notes instead of book notes, I’d be off to my villa in Tuscany.
But the truth is that, the longer I’m a writer, the more patient I become. The idea, after all, is not just to make something, but to make something that lasts.
Just today I had a school in California contact me about doing a Skype visit. I was flabbergasted to hear that the book that lead them to me was “Pet Sitters Plus Five”, a Little Apple paperback that Scholastic published in 1993 which, gulp, yes, is two decades ago. The fact that a copy of the book is still intact in a library is miracle enough, but that it still intrigues kids is an enormous gift. It’s like a very old friend, one whose face and voice you haven’t thought of in years, suddenly calling you up or appearing at your door. Kind of shocking, then immensely gratifying. Art is long! (And they must have made books far sturdier 20 years ago).
Writing quote of the day: “It is an intriguing fact that in order to make readers care about a character, however bad, however depraved, it is only necessary to make him love someone or even something. A dog will do, even a hamster will do.” –Ruth Rendell (“What to Pack in Your Fiction Tool Kit,” Writer’s Digest, December 2010)