Friday, 9 November 2012

An open letter to my story - from Liz Kessler

Dear Story,

We first got together a few months ago, in a flurry of excitement. I remember the day well. The first signs of daylight had barely begun to creep through the window when you came into my mind. I grabbed a notebook and began to write. I think we both thought this was the start of something good.

Those heady early days

And then, with no warning, I wasn’t around any more. I didn’t explain – I just left you hanging there. I hadn’t told you at the time, but I think you suspected. So, yes, I'll admit it. There was another story in my life. You see, we weren’t through yet, and I couldn’t begin something with you until I had properly finished with the other one. I thought you’d understand, but how could you when I hadn’t explained?

Even so, when I came back to you a few weeks later, you were there for me. We hung out together for a blissful week. I wrote every day. We were happy. 

And then I let other things get in the way – again. It wasn’t your fault, it was mine. It was a busy summer and I neglected you. I’m sorry. And in between everything else, the other stories still hadn’t let go. ‘Please can you just edit me one more time?’ begged the story I had left for you. Always insisting it would be the last time – but it never was, was it? 

A page of demanding editing notes

And even the story before that was still there, still wanting things from me. ‘Please tell the world about me. Write a blog, visit some bookshops, come to a book festival with me.’ 

A trip to Bath Festival with the 'other' book
It's true. I still loved those stories. I still do - but it's different now. I'm ready to let them go and give you all my attention. I’ve told them that we're done and that they have to manage on their own for a while, because I want to spend time with you. But I can feel your uncertainty, and I don’t blame you. We’ve been here before. I’ve told you that you're the one, and then I’ve gone off with others. I understand your reticence about trusting me. So I’m making this public commitment to you, and I hope you know I mean it.

I promise that from now on, we’ll spend much more time together. Every day if possible - although I might get nagged into switching off my computer at the weekends, so if you don’t see me for a day or two here and there, please don’t think I’ve abandoned you. You will always be on my mind – you have been for weeks, actually. I just haven’t told you that. But you’re in my thoughts a lot. And from now on, it’s all going to change. We’ll sit down together every day and I’ll give you my full attention, I promise. I’ll buy you magazines and rip out pictures for you. 

Cutting and Sticking - one of the best parts of the planning stage

I’ll get really big pieces of paper and write words all over them – words that I hope you’ll like. I'll even use lots of different colours when I do this. 

Colour coded brainstorming = another excuse to spend an afternoon in a stationery shop
I’ll find the perfect gift for you, an object that reminds me of you, and I'll keep it nearby whenever I think about you.

Objects from previous books. They rarely leave my side (or my computer's side) once I've started writing
But most of all, we'll have some 'you and me' time. Lots of it. Just us. I'll give you as much time as you want and need. I won't let anything or anyone stop that from happening.

So that is my promise. And if I do all this, could I ask one thing of you?

Please could you open up and tell me all your secrets?

Your loving and humble

Author xx

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Clémentine Beauvais said...


this is great. 'There was another story in my life' = story of my life :)

Joan Lennon said...


Lynn said...

Love this!

Keren David said...

Brilliant! Now I know how to explain to my story that I have been flirting with Another.

bookwitch said...

Dear Book,
I suspect Liz is a stationery junkie. Just go carefully.

Lynne Garner said...

Fab post - I've been given permission to spend the entire weekend writing. So will be catching up with a very old friend. A story I've been working on for about seven years!

Stroppy Author said...

Wonderful! But that story will probably stay suspicious for a while, and you can see its point. Did it go off with any other authors while you were playing fast and loose?

Liz Kessler said...

Thank you for the nice comments :)

Stroppy - yikes, that had never even occurred to me. What a thought. I must make doubly sure I don't give my story any reason to want to stray!