Stones, like words, are sometimes big, sometimes small. They fit together to tell the story with colour, surprise, and beauty. Most likely a story will have many more small stones, tiny pebbles, that hold the larger story together. They provide the background for the bigger stones and allow them to glisten and stand out just enough to keep the story interesting.
The wonderful thing about collecting stones, and writing, is that the more stones (words) you add to the pattern, the story, the more interesting and complex it becomes. If you study the above photo and really take time to consider each tiny grain, each pebble, each stone, you will begin to see the pattern and how each one adds to the overall beauty of the picture. Each word, carefully chosen, does the same thing in a story.
The writing life here at Henwoodie is a quiet one. I spend a great deal of time collecting stones, pieces of bark, fungi, old birds’ nests, acorns, etc. And as I add each one to my collecting basket I can’t help but think of words. Ideas, oftentimes just snippets of dialogue or description, seem to come with each item I find. By the time I get home I simply have to sit down and write all the ideas and words down and figure out later how to weave them into a story or narrative that I’m writing.
I’m a compulsive collector. I’m a compulsive writer. I could no more not write than I could fly to moon on the back of sparrow. Writing is cathartic for me. Through writing I can see the patterns in my own life. The words help shape my narrative and it’s easier to see where I’m going both in life and as a writer.
Now that we are in a New Year I focus on writing projects that I want to finish, must finish, in order to get on with my life.
Here, for your delectation, is the list of the writing projects that I have in the works.
A Bed for Little Cub: finish the final artwork
Little Cub and the Fireflies: finish the final artwork
Gus & The Hatchlings: finish the final artwork
Ruby & Roofus: finish the final artwork (these are goslings numbers eleven and twelve in the Gossie & Friends series)
Pearl: finish the final artwork (this is the thirteenth and last gosling to be added to the gaggle)
Pearl’s Lost Pearls: finish the final artwork
Note: These are the very last of the outstanding picture book contracts that I need/must wrap up within the next six months. All the writing and editing is finished. I simply have to sit down in the studio and do the finished illustrations. Easier said than done.
Wythe’s End: 18 of 27 chapters written; eager to work on the character portrait sketches and the drawings of Wythe’s End
The Lay of Moel Eyris: The Saga of the Bear’s Son (5 volumes)
1. The Secret Book of Moolstery (6 chapters and Prologue written)
2. The Secret of the Mool Dykes
3. The Secret of Morag’s Too’er
4. The Secret of the Myvyrrian Map
5. The Secret of the Dragon Eggs
Note: These five books represent my “magnum opus” as a writer. I’ve been working on this project ever since my first visit to Scotland and the Orkney Islands and the Outer Hebrides in 1978. I know the complete saga by heart and simply have to sit down and write it out so that others can enjoy the story.
Nobody Likes an Ugly Child: A collection of short stories about my childhood growing up in southern Virginia. The stories are humorous, some are dark and tragic, but they make up the pattern of my life
8″ and 12″; books two and three in Gabe Hooton’s edgy coming-of-age trilogy. The three books comprise one year in the life of the seventeen year old.
And that’s it. These are the projects that are most pressing in my mind and heart. It’s going to be a productive year for me as a writer. I am ready for the challenge!