Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ways to get unstuck/ Watch for a review of Kate DiCamillo's new book.

I know that I can procrastinate for only so long before I get back to writing, and already I have read a dozen kids books, created a new flower bed in my back yard, and cleaned out my overflowing garage. As a last ditch effort to further procrastinate, I have done the laundry. The closest I've gotten to gettting back to this new book I'm working on in a week is to draw up a list of scenes I still need to write. Not good.

So, this morning I have pulled out all the stops. I've gone to Katherine Paterson for help. No, sadly I do not know her in person, although I do feel like I know her through her books. I dare not start one of her novels, because if I do, that will be the end of writing before it has even begun. I know myself you see. I will read one of her novels, rediscover how good it is, and then start another, and another. Instead, I pulled out The Indispensible Child: on reading and writing books for children. You see, Katherine is a reader as well as a writer. Oddly enough, I have met quite a few writers who are not big readers, and it totally throws me. But Paterson and I share a deeply held trust in the power and importance of books. "There is something so comforting about the beloved books of childood," Paterson confides. "When the uncertainties of life assail us, they stand as healing verities, and we can return to them again and again."

How inspiring is that! Really, it doesn't matter what page I open, I always find something in her writing which helps me get back to doing the work closest to my heart. Interestingly, though Patterson goes on to say something even more striking. "But only, of course, if someone helped us to find those books when we were very young." In other words, bringing the books to the attention of kids is as important as writing them. We still need someone to make sure kids get their hands on books that speak to them. The go-betweens: teachers, librarians, and blogs about kids books are as essential as the books themselves. Yeah Katherine. I knew you'd make my day and you did. I think I'll go write a few pages now, and then maybe treat myself to Kate DiCamillo's new book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which I have been saving for a special treat.

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