This week I have completed a picture book text and sent it off to a publisher. I've never had a picture book published despite having some near misses. One manuscript was accepted three times by three different publishers and eventually fell through for a variety of reasons, some of which I still don't really understand. Sometimes I say to myself that I won't bother again, that it's better to concentrate on other things but, as I said the other week, if you have an idea, it's madness not to try and see what could become of it. And it is still one of my dreams to have a picture book published. I also found this quote a couple of days ago which seems so true.
'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.' Mark Twain.
Also this week we went to a fireworks display. I've always loved fireworks, although in moderation. I do think they should be reserved for one or two nights of the year as animals and my cat in particular find them so stressful. When I was small and living in a thatched cottage, with farms on either side, we were unable to have fireworks in our garden. But I had a friend who lived across the field at the back of our house, on the outskirts of the village. Her parents used to have wonderful fireworks parties. I remember holding jacket potatoes wrapped in foil between my gloved fingers, and as I released them, the steam rising into the chilly night air and warming the tip of my cold, cold nose. I remember the tussocky, frosty grass and the chill coming up through my wellington boots as my friend and I looped our sparklers up and down to write our names. I remember the stars in the inky sky and the tall silhouette of the hedges surrounding the field and I remember standing around the bonfire, hearing the flames crackle and watching the colours dance, orange, yellow, red as I bit into a hot dog drizzled with tomato ketchup. And of course I remember the fireworks, the sense of wonder as they exploded and bejewelled the sky.
But above all I remember the glow. When I look back at this scene it is bathed in a golden glow, not just from the warmth and reflection of the bonfire but from the friendships, the laughter, the sharing, the sense of community as people from the village gathered together. There was a real sense of belonging and, spectacular as our public displays of fireworks are these days, they cannot hope to emulate that. Also back in the day there was the unpredictability of it all; would the fireworks go off, would the wooden stick from the rocket fall back down and land on someone's head or would, in my husband's case, the Catherine wheel whirl free of its mooring, land in the tin of remaining fireworks and cause the most awesome display but mean everything was over in the space of a couple of minutes?! This unpredictability added a frisson of excitement which is also missing I feel, but maybe that is just me getting older and of course thankfully it is a lot safer these days.
So as I explore my memories, I dream of one day owning my own field and maybe even holding my own fireworks party there. But in the meantime maybe I have re-visited a memory which I can incorporate into one of my books.
Thank you for reading and may you get the chance to explore, dream and discover this week.