Thursday, June 18, 2009

please, somebody, plug me in

I'm imagining a crash team breaking down the door and dashing inside to find me, wan and limp, flopped in a corner of my studio, index fingers still twitching feebly in a rictus-like attempt to air-type out one last post before I flatline.
One..., didn't Ry Cooder sing that once? Or was it a meatball? Or have all the songs I've ever listened to while I work and work and work all run together into song-soup? And do I even care?

The crash team are distracted by the studio. I'm making landed-fish gaspy sounds and needing their immediate attention, but they're too busy pulling books off the shelf and exclaiming - wow - I had that when I was a kid. Jeez, did she write that too? Oh, my, I loved that one. Mum used to read me that at bedtime. And that one too. Just how many books has she written?

Seventy six...I gasp, but my voice is fainter than a line writ small in 8H pencil.

They peer down at me, and they all look so young, and far away. They don't read books made of paper now, d'you know? What I do, in the writing and illustrating of books on paper - well, that's kind of quaint and dinosaurish. I knew if I lived long enough this would happen. I have become a living curiosity. I still, dammit, prefer pens and paper to just about any other recording medium.

I'm lying there, gasping pathetically and hoping they might be able to use the USB slot at the back of my neck or the Firewire TM connection in my ear to connect me to the grid, otherwise my hard drive is going to dump all my remaining data onto the rug. Via my nostrils. And that won't be a good look.

Or maybe they'll use a Stryker saw to unzip me from sternum to pubes and peel me back to reveal a smaller, younger, fresher version of the me that is draped, like a strand of overcooked linguine, across the sofa that I used to take afternoon naps on, back when I was trying to write six linked novels in six years followed by four linked younger novels in three years topped off with five hundred line drawings in three months. Or was that three blinks? Or was it forty younger novels? Or.

I forget. Unsurprisingly, memory, then eyesight go first.

Maybe - and this is the kindest scenario of all - just maybe they'll unscrew me at the waist, and lift my top half off my bottom half, and inside, there'll be another me that looks just like the one that's been unscrewed. And inside that one, there'll be another, and another, and another, and another, right down to what, when our girls were little, we were pleased to call 'the bean'. The smallest matrushchka of all, the core dolly, the girl in the middle of the woman in the centre of the lady. The one where you can barely make out her features, since they were painted by an underpaid woman with a one eyelash brush. Core dolly. Babeheart. She is so very small, and so very well guarded. Was so very well guarded.

And then our puppy will nudge past the crash team and stick out her long, long tongue ( you would not believe how long that dog's tongue is) and, schloooop. I'd be gone.

Monday, June 1, 2009

putting my witch to bed

Can't quite believe I've finished the illustrations for Witch Baby and Me After Dark, and not only finished them, but parcelled them up and posted them to London. 

Maybe when I wake up tomorrow morning and automatically think - what am I going to draw today?- and the answer comes - the artwork for a new Mr Bear book, maybe then I'll believe I've done it. Or maybe when I see the hole on my drawing board where WB&MeAD used to be, I'll feel bereft, anti-climatic and flatter than a flat thing.

I tell you, though, WB&MeAD ( as she is known) was a labour of love. One hundred and eighty seven illustrations in all. One hundred and eighty seven? Somebody shut me up.

Here's one of them, fresh out the oven.