I've been down in my cups lately; a combination of factors in our household. I can most often get through all the hurdles by doing the thing that keeps me sane. Writing, drawing and making things. Happy and bouncy with a million things on the go and juggling them all with heart racing and eyes gleaming at the challenge, my days are always too short. I fear that I will die before I get to finish all the things I want to do in life; and the women in my family live a long time- so my demise isn't imminent. But right now I can't get motivated at all and I sit staring out the window feeling blue.
Surrounded by writery and illustratory friends last night over a pot luck dinner (after Melinda Syzmanik's book launch of 'A Winter's Day in 1939' which you MUST buy for your kids and then read it yourself) I realised why I have felt so deflated and unable to build enthusiasm for my next project. Creating a book is a very visceral thing. You pull out everything from your heart and soul and pour it in; there is hard work, self doubt, more hard work and more self doubt. You get it done and send it off and wonder if this baby will grow to be a good and useful member of society or be the victim of cot death before it has a chance to focus and smile. Writer friends understand this. They know that being a creative is not necessarily a happy, rose filled vocation. We are driven; and sometimes that sends us a little bananas. Luckily we all sit in same fruit bowl.
The latest book which is now off to print took me 5 months all through spring and summer. A shortish gestation really but is the culmination of years of my art practice. It's the sharing of 80% of everything I know to date- the other 20% is too advanced for the age level of the intended readers. But it took 100% of my effort; gathering resource, writing, illustrating, creating, photography, digital work and revisions. My head feels empty now- like I've transferred the contents of my hard drive to a cloud and lost the password.
I'm worn out after the labour and still in a tired haze. I did too much too soon after giving birth and possibly have a little post natal depression. I'm going to cut myself a little slack and scale back on getting back to work in a hurry. The book is due in July by which time I'll be full of motherly love for it and proudly show it off everywhere. I've named it already; 'Wearable Wonders.' I hope it's a good baby.
The illustration is from a poem I wrote for Next magazine when I had my regular column there some years ago. It's called Cry Baby.
Yes, hello there Doctor,
Have you got a moment free?
(Oh God I need to see you,
Please spare some time for me).
Well, it's really for my baby,
He's crying quite alot,
(He screams all day and night
And I'm about to lose the plot).
The grizzling's fairly steady,
I was wondering, is it ears?
(Mine are fairly ringing
And I'm constantly in tears).
Is there something I could give him
To help him settle more?
(Like a massive dose of morphine,
Or is that against the law?).
Yes, I know it might be teething,
But I just can't get him down,
(And if I don't get some sleep soon,
I'll go screaming round the town).
O.K, I'll try and rest, thanks,
Yes, it might just do the trick,
And thanks for your advice to me,
(What a useless #@*!&)