The weekend just passed was the 175th anniversary of the primary school where my son attends and my daughter graduated in 2015. A wonderful place to learn, St Mary’s Primary School has a long history which was celebrated in style with a grand luncheon attended by past teachers and students; some of them within reach of a century.
I practically missed it and I am riddled with guilt!
I have an excuse. My new book – The Mark of the Maker Stone – took hold 18 months ago and completely absorbed my life. I wasn’t planning on writing another book, but a year and a half ago – after delivering another heart-lifting school incursion – a little thought seed nestled itself into the soft part of my skull. Once that’s there it won’t go away, not for me anyway. Plots twist and turn as the seed grows, morphing into a semi-permanent thought. This is the exciting bit – when that seed takes flight. It sits dormant, waiting for a moment of clarity; a moment without distraction, and then it takes hold. Daydreams, traffic jams, tv ads become opportunities to press play on the manuscript unfolding in my head. When character visions flash up, I rush for a napkin, a piece of scrap paper, or anything I can scribble on before I lose the picture in my mind’s eye. By this stage I can’t wait for the next chance to explore the imagination!
I would often apologise to my kids as I scratch out another quick character study halfway through a game of Forza. Many dinners weren’t burnt or forgotten and the lawn would start to resemble one of the scenes in my book. My studio walls fill with plot diagrams, timelines, character studies, thumbnail sketches, idea post-it notes, inspirations, photos and brain farts.
And before you know it, I’ve missed the 175th anniversary celebration of my kids’ school! I am sorry, so very sorry … but I can’t help it.