write like no-one's watching

i took the children to see Finding Dory last weekend. it was okay....not as good as Finding Nemo, but then, the 'sequels' rarely are.  anyway, we saw the trailer for The BFG which was brilliant and tantalizing and we are definitely going to see it when it's released. anyway.

it started me thinking about children's books and how much they've changed since the time Roald Dahl wrote this particular story.

which started me thinking about the sort of children's books that i wanted to write - back when i wanted to write children's books.

which started me thinking about how i sort of still do want to write children's books.

stories of magic and menace where the only grit to be found is caught in the iron-shod hooves of shaggy fell ponies....


i want to write because i want to write, not because i might sell books.

having to earn a living with my writing is one of those old stories [ha, very punny!] that i'm currently unraveling.

i've come to realize that somewhere, somewhen, earning money became the concession that would make it allowable to spend time and energy making up stuff.


once upon a time, i wrote stories because they were in my head - characters followed me around, scenes played like film reels in that space behind my eyes.

then i started to triage my ideas - mentally assessing them for marketability, ease of production, possible audience - setting them aside or picking them up accordingly, in order of most-likely-to-be-useful. which was fine, because i still loved writing the ones at the front of the queue....until i got to the next one in line [according to the Master Plan of Publication] and didn't fancy writing it.

so i haven't written anything.

in a very long while.

which feels all manner of grim and squick.


what if


so i spent some time pondering the whole notion of art-as-performance, which is what, it seems, the internet most favours and rewards, versus the innate creative impulse.

the thought was originally inspired by a Doctor Who episode - Vincent and the Doctor - but that's a nerdly digression for another day.


setting the essential human motivation for acceptance and reassurance and belonging aside - a basic need which i believe is amplified by the share-o-matic impulse of the digital age - i wondered, what would i create if no-one was watching?

because i remember drawing and writing, just because.

i feel like that's the place i want to create from...the place without audience or obligation.

but does it - can it - even exist anymore?

can there be a happy balance between commerce and creative impulse?


'tis an interesting thing to ponder, no?

personally, i'm thinking something along the lines of Enid Blyton-meets-Neil Gaiman, with perhaps a dash of Edward Gorey.

and you?

~m. xo


all images via pinterest