Thursday, July 16, 2015

Jane Yolen and how books come to be

Here's another post by multi-published author, singer, mother, grandmother, and much, much more - Jane Yolen.  I agree wholeheartedly.  My books also take time and come in their own time.
Jane says:

I want to talk this evening about taking time. Books gestate, stories need cooking, even single lines need to be shaped and reshaped in the brain and eye and mouth.
But sometimes writers (or at least I know I do) write in a white hot burst of creation. This is when the time may not be in the gestation but in the aftermath.
I sometimes tell people that I spend half my time creating and the other half re-creating. If you visit me and we are laughing over a cup of tea, trust me, I am also fully gestating something. Sometimes several somethings. Long before I was a published writer, I would wool-gather, turn my face to the window and watch the wind wind-up the branches of the trees. My mother understood that I was gestating a poem or a tale, but my father would call me back from some awful imagined precipice. I think he hated not knowing what I was thinking, or at least hated that I was not thinking about him.
Yes, to some people I seem very quick when I write. But you have no idea how long I have been thinking about a book before I begin actuvely working on it. I am poking about a picture book now called DAWN CHORUS but I have been carrying some form or another of this book around inside me from the day I went for a weekend at Montauk Point with my then boyfriend, David Stemple, and really listened to the birds under his tutelage for the first time.
I wrote OWL MOON fifteen or so years after he first took our children out owling.
I wrote my books about women pirates (PIRATES IN PETTICOATS, SEA QUEENS, BALLAD OF THE PIRATE QUEENS) decades after I first read about Ann Bonney and Mary Read and had put them in a book of pirates I'd made for sixth grade, with cover, binding, side sewing and all. Gosh, I wish my mother had kept a copy of that!
What I am trying to say--and a bit nostalgically at that- is that we must carry the book inside before we let it out into the light of the world. The rest--rejections, editorial letters, bad reviews or good are the consequence of publishing. But first there has to be the dawn chorus in your soul.

 ©2015 Jane Yolen all rights reserved.

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