A Bookish Adventure

I started this blog to document an extended trip to the US and UK in 2012, introducing children to my Alice-Miranda series. It's hard to believe that it's just on four years since we launched the first Alice-Miranda title - and now there are nine books out in Australia with another five still to come. When I first came up with the idea of this precocious seven and a quarter year old, I had no clue that she would take me on such an amazing journey, not only in Australia but also across the world. I visited 37 schools while we were away in 2012 and gave over 80 talks - it was fantastic. In 2013 I've been on lots of new adventures in the UK - visiting schools from London to Southampton, Lancashire, Scotland, Newcastle and back to London again. After that I headed off to meet readers in Singapore. In Australia I've been to Melbourne, Perth, Albany, Alice Springs and Brisbane. There's a new series too - about a gorgeous little girl called Clementine Rose. She and Alice-Miranda don't know each other yet, but they will soon.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship Days 8, 9, 10 and 11

The first two days of the week were head down, tail up working on the book.  I managed 3600 words on Monday and Tuesday did a complete read through with changes, adding another 1500 words.  Still, not as many as I would have liked.

I've been getting out each day, making sure that I walk to The Parade in Norwood, grab a coffee and speak to people - even if it is just at the checkout in Coles.  Complete author isolation would drive me batty; I need people to energise me.

On Tuesday afternoon I walked to the bakery on the corner and on the way back I decided to have a closer look at the sculpture in the middle of the very large median strip in Osmond Terrace.  It's a series of circles and inside there are stories.  Although I suspect to the passing motorists I may have looked a little strange as my head followed the great big loops, the stories are wonderful and tell snippets of Norwood's history from local residents.  One tells of a well to do couple who stayed at a local hotel.  The wife was devastated to find her jewellery gone one evening and reported it to the owner.  A chamber maid was accused of the theft and sent off in disgrace.  Some time later the owner discovered a magpie's nest with a an outstanding collection of jewels.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of talking to two groups of students from Norwood Public School at the beautiful old Norwood Library.  Mary Wilson came to collect me from the apartment.  The sky was finally a dazzling blue and the warmth after quite a few chilly days was heavenly.

The children and teachers were a most enthusiastic and appreciative audience and I loved sharing stories with them, answering questions and doing some drama.  Cutest question of the day was, 'do you play any sports?'

'Yes, I love to play golf,' was my response.

'Wow, you're the first girl I've ever met who can play golf.'

I didn't realise I was so unusual.

There were some great actors among the classes and they really got stuck into the group audition process.

Mary and I then headed back to drop off the bulky gear at the apartment. 

Before I go any further I have to say that Mary Wilson is an extraordinary woman.  She's one of those people who exude warmth and kindness - and wisdom.  I have loved spending time with her and look forward to a few more visits before I head home.  I wish I could have met her husband Ian too - he really sounds like the most extraordinary man and I'm sure they must have made an indomitable team.

As it happened, when we arrived at the apartment, another of the committee members, Jacquie Holdich telephoned to check on some arrangements for next week.  On the spur of the moment we organised to meet her in Norwood and have a bite of lunch in the sun.  It was great getting to know more about Jacqui's career and her recent travels.  Mary and I then headed off down The Terrace to the corner where I was meeting Eliza, one of my former Abbotsleigh colleagues in the Development Office.  It was great to see her too and hear about her new life in Adelaide.

Today I've struggled a little bit.  I had to finish off an edit for my US publisher and so had my head back in Alice-Miranda At Sea yesterday afternoon and evening and then again first thing this morning.  I have found it hard to get into the rhythm of things.  I was also cross with myself for being a bit of a cranky pants yesterday.  I know I'm missing Ian terribly and can't wait for him to arrive tomorrow night.  This afternoon I received the most beautiful email from a reader, Violette - who certainly cheered my day.  I've inserted an extract below:

I love the Alice-Miranda series!!!!! I also love your blog, it's so interesting to read. I had an idea for a blog post...I don't know if you'll like it but here it is anyway! 

Alice-Miranda is such an inspirational character, and is many people's, including myself's, role model. Lot's of your readers try to be like her.  For other characters in other books, or TV shows, or things like that, there are usually posts on line with tips on how to be like them. For example, I love CeCe from the show Shake It Up, and there are lots of posts on the internet on how to be like her, dress like her etc.. You could do one for Alice-Miranda!!!  I don't know if you'll like that, you definitely don't have to, it was just an idea, but if you did do it, some of the tips could be like "Always introduce yourself, be kind......." and so on.
It was very timely.  Kids have told me that often when they find themselves in a bind, they will ask, 'what would Alice-Miranda do?'  I need to take their advice.  I know I've got the passion, but Alice-Miranda could teach me a thing or two about grace.

This afternoon one of my former Abbotsleigh colleagues, Jane came and picked me up and we went and had coffee in the city.  It was wonderful to see her and catch up on all the news.

Tomorrow I need to make serious headway on the book.  The threads are all there - it's just a matter of pulling gently and seeing how they unravel.  I would have loved to be finishing the last few thousand words but that's a little way off yet - not too far, I can almost see it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jacqueline...

    t was nice to meet you and Ian today at Dillons Norwood - and so lovely for our girls to see a real live author!! Ava was over the moon... She just loves the stories you write and hopes to see you again if things work out as we discussed.

    And loving your blogposts: brilliant that Adelaide is looking after you so well. I live near Mary Wilson and it sounds like she has shown you excellent hospitality!

    Have a wonderful time here and hoping it's conducive for stimulating writing!

    Cheers pk
    (Paul Kitching)

    PS > you should try and attend some of the WORD ADELAIDE Festival if you are still here Aug 15-18. Celebrating all that is good about words!