‘Wibbly-wobbly, wibbly-wobbly,’ sang the Baby

I owe an apology to Nick Cross.

He is this month’s moderator for the SCBWI -BI email group – and he sent round a great suggestion to get us all thinking and replying.

They say that “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down” and much the same can be said of writers…

So, I’d like to open the floor for a wobble workshop today. Are you reeling from a rejection, a bad review or a self-inflicted confidence loss? Why not let the group know and I promise we can deliver an instant confidence boost!

I have to apologise because I said I didn’t want to wobble in a public forum – and guess what I’m going to do now?

I am definitely of an age when I can sing that irritating little jingle/earworm. In fact, I’ve often thought of it (sadly) as a something of a motto.


This would be cooler. But the principle’s the same – resilience. The more you put yourself ‘out there’, the more Life will poke your plump little tummy and send you rocking and reeling. It’s bonkers – and possibly addictive.

I put myself up for a writer-in-residence in Northumberland – and even with the support of David Almond ( how’s that for chutzpah?) – I didn’t get it. Wallop. Right over on the side looking at the battered daisies.

But then I think of the way Weebles work. They have a central weight inside which pulls them back to standing. I look at that as my core – not what I am trying to achieve but what is deep and essential; what I am. All the oscillations around that are just, well, wobbles.

So if any of my wibbles and wobbles can help some one else, great. Otherwise I will keep my wavering to myself.

And the quotation at the top? It’s from one of Jill Murphy’s marvellous Large Family books. At the end of A Piece of Cake, the elephants learn to accept what they are – large. In my case, that’s as wobbly as Bob Godfrey’s animations.

Travelling hopefully

I had been considering writing a post about holidays, partly inspired by the thread started by Paul Morton of Hot Frog Graphics on the SCBWI-BI email group. He told us what things he thinks about taking on holiday – and what he actually takes, then asked what everyone else does. Interesting stuff.

I was also prompted by Nick Cross’s  post here. Deep joy.

Then my Wonderful Other Half or Him-at-the-Back-of-the-Garage-Who-can’t-Resist-a-Bargain asked would I like to go diving in Egypt for a week?  On Saturday? Would I !

Now there isn’t a lot to say about packing for a live-aboard. Once you’ve got the necessities:

  • mask
  • snorkel
  • regulators
  • BCD
  • weight-belt
  • wetsuit
  • wetsuit boots
  • fins
  • dive computer
  • swimming costume
  • beer money
…there’s only room for a couple of sarongs and T-shirts left in your dive bag. OK I shall have a notebook & pen, and my Kindle in my backpack, but that’s it.
So it was rather serendipitous to read the results of a survey in the Sept 2012 Diver magazine that asked ‘What’s the best thing about diving?’  Here’s my summary of the results:
  1. Entering another world
  2. Being with your own thoughts
  3. Escaping from the mundane
  4. Freedom
  5. Adventure
  6. The fellowship of others

Any of this sound familiar to my creative friends? Add in the fact that the vast majority of divers I’ve met over almost a decade are rather individual people, and there will be wrecks and maybe sharks, then you can see why I’ve jumped at the chance.

Image by Alfonzo Gonzalez

What sort of travel refreshes your creativity?

A small matter of education for all…


Regular readers of my posts and my tweets will know I love libraries. I mean to write about them again and here are some reasons

                As a consequence of the Comprehensive Spending Review 400 libraries are under threat. Compare this with the situation in South Korea where 180 new libraries are being built.

South Korea is top of the PISA international rankings for competence in reading. In ten years the UK has fallen from seventh to twenty-fifth. This is no time to cut libraries.

  • I checked about Korea and the reading stats

    courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/philbradley/


After all that, I have nothing left to write except Support Your Local Library!

Brand New

or How to Get Noticed.

“…a prepossessing personality in an author is a great asset… “How to Get An Agent” by Philippa Milnes-Smith in  2010 A& C Black.

OK seems a good idea. I’d better get one. Let’s start off with interesting interests.

  1. Take up Belly Dancing like the  lovely Kathryn Evans. I suspect in my case the video would make people think of school blancmange and the little ditty beginning ‘Jelly on the plate…”
  2. Develop a musical talent – pace Jon Mayhew and his mandolin. I’m not sure three notes on the descant recorder’s really going to hack it on YouTube.
  3. Get clever with a puppet. Oh to work with the wonderful Woofy like Sue Eves. My poor old teddy has a squished nose where I used to stand on him to get at the book shelves. I don’t think he’s up to it.

Righto – how about developing a distinctive appearance?

  1. Grow a splendiferous beard like the lovely Mr Philip Ardagh. I do have the precedent of a fine hirsute lady relative but I lack the gravitas to pull it off, I fear.
  2. Sport magnificent and intriguing tattoos such as embellish Saviour Pirotta. Perhaps not. I never even liked peeling off the backing on the transfers as a child  – and it took me till I was 21 to get my ears pierced. Once.
  3. Become an all-round style icon like Sarah McIntyre of the Funky Glasses. Touch tricky for an unconstructed hippy, although I am quite good at dressing up. That’s if you count making a small tot cry when dressed up as a witch or having my picture labelled as a hobbit in the local paper when I thought I was Arwen Evenstar.

What about me? Perhaps I need to have a remarkable background.

  1.  Start at an interesting point in your life. Catherine Webb was only14 when first published ( I’m not sure that the ‘A Wet Windy Day in Wakefield’ featured in the Wakefield Express at 11 counts) and Mary Wesley started at 71.  I am 49 – ‘neither nowt nor summat ‘- as they say where I come from.
  2. Come from an intriguing culture. Candy Gourlay, that  fascinating Filipina, uses hers wonderfully in’ Tall Story’. Miriam Halahmy (what a cool name) has an Iraqi husband and all manner of family to call upon. Me – Wakefield in the Rhubarb Triangle of Yorkshire. Not the same, is it?

Oh dear. Perhaps I could hide behind other enticements?

  1. Bring out marketing goodies – let me see – a plush cuddly Giant Moray Eel? A wind-up Dave the Disastrous Diver: guaranteed to ruin any bathtime? Model of the Sinai Emperor – watch as it breaks up and sinks! Just not going to go with a Happy Meal.
  2. Feature really cool concepts. Oh dear,  I can’t nick off with  Sarwat Chadda’s kick-ass heroines and Templars or Nick Cross’s zombies. They wouldn’t all fit on my dive boat. Certainly not together.
  3. Promote Important Messages. Somehow “Don’t steal Ancient Egyptian artefacts, it will all end in tears” hasn’t got the moral integrityand pithyness of say The Lorax. Maybe ‘Be nice to fishes’. I could wear a badge. A very big badge.

I give up. I’ll just have to take a leaf out of all these brilliant people’s books  – and just write really, really well. And be myself.