Saturday, 6 August 2016

Holiday time! By Cecilia Busby

As you read this, I will be (hopefully) sunning myself on a beach in Brittany. (Or possibly, hiding in a tent while the rain pours down!) Whichever it is, I am sure to be happy. I will be surrounded by my family (grumpy or otherwise), I will have no computer, I will have no obligations, I won't have to tidy the house or put some washing on - all I will have to worry about its whether to wander down the road and buy some croissants nor alternatively put the kettle on for some tea and carry on reading my book....

I am planning to take my latest Work in Progress and a small notebook. My latest Work in Progress was actually, not so long ago, a Finished Draft. But, in that way that can happen, the Finished Draft was obviously not quite finished - it received a sadly lukewarm response from publishers and now requires a little bit of reviving. I'm not planning to do any serious writing, but I am planning to let the story roll around in my head a bit, and keep a notebook handy, for any inspiration that comes. Who knows whether I can give the story enough of a kiss of life to make it fly, but I'll see. And where better to do a little creative day-dreaming?

Holidays are time out from the everyday. They take you sideways, off the path of 'onward progress' and into the wilderness of 'shilly-shallying around'. They force you to live in the moment, because there's no point thinking about 'getting on' with anything, you are away - your email has an auto-reply - you are ELSEWHERE.

Which reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones's brilliant Fire and Hemlock and the vases which are carved with the words NOWHERE - or is it NOW HERE?

On holiday you are both 'nowhere' and 'now here' - right here, right now, on the beach, or in the tent, or eating that croissant, breathing in the air, watching the birds wheel above, feasting your eyes (and it's a good phrase for it, because it feels exactly like taking in glorious quantities of food) on new sights, new colours, new places. It's exactly the sort of time and place for a little gentle playing with ideas.

I'm hoping that in that dreaminess that holidays bring, I will find exactly the right way to tell my story anew, and make it fresh and exciting. But if I don't, that's fine too. Because I will have had a chance to just stop for a while and drift; to let the moments run through my fingers like sand and not worry that they are disappearing, but instead just enjoy each one. I will have had a chance to practise my rusty French and laugh about how terrible it is; to climb rocks and paddle in pools as if I were ten all over again; to poke around among the shells and stones and pick out the most beautiful ones, and then forget them on the sand.

And all this will gradually re-inflate me, in the magical way a cup of water does when you have a slightly droopy pot plant. And in the end, I am sure it will find its way out into some kind of creativity, if not for this story, then for another one.

Cecilia Busby writes humorous fantasy adventures for ages 7-12 as C.J. Busby. Her latest book, The Amber Crown, was published last year by Templar.


"Great fun - made me chortle!" (Diana Wynne Jones on Frogspell)

"A rift-hoping romp with great wit, charm and pace" (Frances Hardinge on Deep Amber)

1 comment:

Joan Lennon said...

I like the idea that holidays "take you sideways" - have a lovely one!