I'm sure I am in sympathetic company here when I declare my love of books—the worlds they contain, the thrill of hunting them, the ritual of reading them (preferably in bed) and the warmth of walls full of them.
And for as long as I can remember, MAKING books has also obsessed me. I would dictate my stories to my mother, who would type them onto my drawings, binding them into a book complete with an "about the author" blurb. One, at age ten, says "Rilla is a home loving girl."
But as my expectations rose and my estimation of my abilities fell, finishing the books became harder and harder. I "grew up" and I left a trail of unfinished ideas behind me.
And yet, years later, when I embarked on a story about my alter-ego Sozi, I was simultaneously making toys, organizing the launch and even planning sequels. This was going to be my masterpiece!
It wasn't long before everything ground to a halt. Confronted by my own mediocrity, it became cruelly apparent that I was not creating a classic to rival Where the Wild Things Are. Clearly all I could do was put it in the bottom of the drawer.
And there it stayed—despite being top of my new year's resolutions year after year. I worked hard at not working on it. I made other (non-narrative) books, moved from Australia to Berlin and exhibited in Mexico City, Tokyo, Berlin and Madrid.
Six years later, the weight of my unfinished ideas became too much to bear. Sozi was demanding to be written about. And so, with the original manuscript still hidden away, I wrote about what I knew—which was, of course, the process of NOT writing.
And so, in "Her Idea" Sozi delights in the world of inspiration she has amassed but struggles to bring her ideas to reality. She reaches the depths of despair, but with the help of a friendly idea book (who squishes her ideas to save them for later) she learns to concentrate on just one.
As I approached the middle of the book I still didn't know what would be at the end… but I was determined not to give up. And so that's precisely what I wrote. And together Sozi and I finally made it to THE END. And it really is DONE at last.
I need to go and have a good lie down.
With a good book.