Monday, February 13, 2012

Last strokes of Mr Wolf

You'd think I'd celebrate. At the very least, take a day off. Crack open a bottle of something bubbly. Award myself a bar of chocolate or something...anything...sheesh, just a little something to mark the end of several months of work on one single book. Yes?

No. Heck, no. Calvinists 'r us. Celebrate? Don't be ridiculous, woman.

Here's how we marked the posting off of the final artwork for What's the Time, Mr Wolf? to its Publisher. Gentle Reader, read on and marvel at how we illustrators really Have Ourselves A Good Time.

There's a shrivelled bunch of past-its-dates therefore 75% off asparagus going peely-wally* in the fridge, some brick hard parmigiano courtesy of my friend Gaz whose Mama was unaware that her only son was drowning in il grande, and passed the surplus dairy product on to us. Filo pastry was unearthed from the freezer and eggs from sister Sue's hens. Wah hey - we have a pie. To drink -there was some flat tonic which mixed with a leathery lime was passably wet. No gin. There was no gin, by choice. It's winter, for heaven's sake. I don't drink much in winter. Actually, these days, I don't drink much at all.

And now, the night is middle-aged and I'm about to curl up on the sofa with a book. A real book, on real paper. Another in my as-yet unbroken chain of winter reading about Polar exploration. Tonight, we're in the Antarctic. My head is full of leads and sastrugi and crevasses and moulins and Great Barriers and narwhals and, heaven help me, an Inuit word I can't remember for the particular variety of the blues that comes upon a person living in a region of low light levels which translates, roughly as weight of the world. I love that. Or perhaps 'love' isn't the right word. I feel that would be closer to the truth. Weight of the world and my place in it. My tiny part in it.

I think there might be a book bubbling up out of all the icy reading I've been doing this winter. Or then again, maybe not. Come what may,  I'm reading my own body weight in words on Polar exploration for sheer joy. In truth, I never did get over my love affair with Hans Christian Andersen's tale of the Snow Queen ; of all childhood stories in my big white book, that is the one that has stayed with me all through my life.

Time will tell. Unlike Andersen's anti-heroine, I don't have an eternity of it, but I've learned that the best of things work to their own timescale and will not be rushed. I feel as if I'm preparing the ground. Sweeping snow off the runway. Building blocks of snow into a little round house. Getting ready for something. Waxing the runners on my sleigh. Keeping my eyes and ears and above all my heart, wide, wide open.

* Peely-wally. The colour of an untanned Caledonian.