I just finished a class (as a student) on picture book writing taught by Stephanie Watson (you should check her out, especially the comics about her daughter). One week we all brought in some favorite picture books, and I brought in Beekle, Knuffle Bunny, and Wild About You. I realized during the class that these three books really tell the same story: stories of finding and keeping. Maybe there was something profound and meaningful in my selections, something that betrays some aspect of my psychology. There is no self-knowledge like accidental self-knowledge. I have been thinking about “finders” and “keepers” ever since.
Last week I was asked to write a story for an anthology. I am eager to participate but didn’t have any stories lying around, so I went into my vast disorganized mess of unfinished and unpublished drafts in hopes of finding something to spruce up. I found an abandoned beginning of a novel that read like a story and seemed to fit the needs of the anthology perfectly. It was from the winter of 13-14, and the only bit I’d typed up from a notebook I’d filled with longhand to break through a writing block. The notebook is basically a novel, or at least a plan for a novel, but I’d lost it and realized the perils of writing longhand.
I had thought of it longingly but thought it was all lost, and didn’t remember typing up any of it. So first I found an excerpt I didn’t remember typing, and today my wife found the notebook, which had been hiding for a year, and it’s all there. I am in the final stages of a project that has taken over a year to finish and here is the next thing, ready to be taken up. Rarely are findings so magically timed.
Meanwhile, in the space of a week we went from parkas to jacketless outings. The snow is gone and the ice has melted. The world is full of sunshine. Everybody I meet seems to be happy. Everything is touched by magic.