Wednesday, 28 June 2017


I've always been a fidget. A wriggler, a hair-twister. I can't sit in a meeting without a notebook in front of me. It's supposed to be for making notes, but by twenty minutes in I'm drawing flowers and little houses. I can't sit in front of the television without something to knit, sew, cut out, or puzzle at. Other people sit quietly in the garden with a drink. I have to pull out the weeds and pinch the dead heads off the pansies.

I also fidget write. I have to have some little piece of work going on, if only to play with. At present I'm in the rare position of doing one book at a time, which rarely happens. And my one book is at the stage where I have to leave it to get cold before I can go back, re-read and revise. I'm twitching for some fidget writing.

Maybe a picture book text. What hasn't been done? What would I like to do? A penguin story? A polar bear? An elephant?

A re-telling of a fairy tale? Or a legend?

Something that's never been done before? So what would that be?

Whatever I might come up with, I will never, ever, write anything so incomparably perfect and lovely as Paddington Bear. Thank you, Michael Bond, who died today at the age of 91, for giving us Paddington. The world of children's books just now looks for excitement, danger, adventure, thrills, pace. Perhaps we're all missing something. We're missing the fact that generations of readers have warmed to the stories of a gentle and sensible bear who doesn't storm about, do anything stupidly dangerous, or even fidget. He gets on with things, speaks politely, and raises his hat, and the world is better for him.


Esther Eckstine said...

This was such a lovely post!! I am a fidget myself, but hardly realized it! I have never realized one could fidget write, but I believe I do it often. A fairy tale retelling would be absolutely marvelous! I love to rewrite fairy tales myself, as I have mentioned to you before.

I loved the Paddington books when I was younger and still love them! The illustrations were always so vibrant and lovely, and Paddington so sweet.

I am so sorry I haven't emailed you in so long! I emailed you quite a while ago but it never got sent due to some complications I do not fully understand. I tried again, but all to no avail. I will try again if you would like, I do miss our conversations.
I am in the midst of so many stories and happenings and ideas and also am about to read High Crag Linn again, because I simply must.
I hope you remember me and we are able to take up correspondence again soon.
(Esther Eckstine)

margaret mcallister said...

Esther, sorry I missed this post! Do try again. I'm so glad High Crag Linn is still there with you. Please do try again to contact me. Who is that beautiful little person on your picture? xx

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