Brian and I are feeling bear-ish. We’d like to hibernate for a month or so – maybe until it stops raining. Well, that might be more than a month if the past three months are anything to go by. But - we’re not bears and we can’t just sleep away the grey days. Buster and Elfie would get up to too much mischief if we did.
I think the faeries are doing a bit of their own hibernating. Nothing seems “active” at the moment. There are flowers coming up (tentatively) and the birds are beginning to sing their spring songs, but it still feels everything is waiting to make that leap into the new. There isn’t any activity in our house (I’m still talking about faeries here) but perhaps that’s because they spent a very busy few months helping and hindering us while we finished the book. I truly believe that they don’t always know if they ARE helping or hindering. They just do what seems appropriate to them and it may not be at all appropriate to us. Here’s a good example of what I mean.
I decided (for some foolish reason) that I would write an afterword for the Faeries’ Tales book - the last double page spread, explaining where some of the original stories and songs I used came from. Sounds like a good idea - very grown up and book-ish. I duly did this and congratulated myself on the fact that I could do it (with help from Terri Windling and my editors!). I gave the pages to Brian (remember – this is the last two page spread in the book) and asked him to choose a few drawings to liven it up for any intrepid reader who ventured all the way to the very end pages. He did so and we sent it off to the editor for corrections. I hadn’t paid much attention to the drawings he used, only noting that the very last one looked more than slightly mad. The page spread was returned with a few things to correct and at this point Brian said “I just knew this page spread would be trouble”.
We corrected and sent it back. The memory stick we sent got lost in the post. We sent it again and when it arrived it was found that we had sent the wrong version of the pages. We sent it via internet (after all it was only two pages!) and again more corrections came back -things that no one had spotted before. We corrected and sent it back. It came back again with yet more and different corrections. This was bad enough, but every time we tried to correct the text, it took a different form on the pages. Sometimes it left out sections, sometimes it changes the format, sometimes it just refused to do anything.
As we were looking at it on the computer for what seemed like the hundredth time I said “I feel just like that little drawing you put in the corner” and Brian confessed that he had put it in as a joke because he just knew this page spread was going to be trouble and would drive us crazy. Well - it did. The faery in the drawing was just doing its job. It had been drawn to be crazy and it was indeed crazy and very happily going about its business spreading that craziness around as much as it could. It was far too late to take it out and replace it with another drawing so we had to make due with a stern talk, trying to explain to it that it had now done its job and could stop!
We sent the pages off again and so far we haven’t had them back for any more corrections. I think our editor was being driven as crazy as we were. We’ll get color corrections for the whole book back soon. Luckily, that page spread is in black and white - so, what could go wrong? Hah!
And what have we learned from this? Maybe that what one brings into this world, matters. Brian may still draw crazy faeries, but he’s going to be much more careful about where they go from now on (he says that now but he probably won’t do it)!
One last word. Most of the faeries involved in helping with the book did just that. They helped, inspired and facilitated. We thank them. Actually, we thank them all, helpful or otherwise. After all, they’re only doing their job. It’s up to us to be sensible about it!