When a writer has a eureka moment and the muse is riding high, I don't believe it is possible to deny the creative urge: a book is begging to be born. The decision needs to be made to commit hundreds of hours work to its production - it is not for the faint-hearted. So, why should it matter that no one will publish it?
There has been much coverage in the media of the extent of mental illness in adolescents and adults. Often the sufferers go undiagnosed and untreated because they feel the condition to be a social stigma. There are obviously too many other related issues to consider in this post but the topic came up in conversation between the Itinerant Poet and myself about what we might be able to do to help children avoid sliding down the slippery slope. What could we do to help children manage their lives so that they learned how to be happier and more content? A book is born!
Further inspiration came in the form of a post by the Canadian blog Collective Evolution entitled Ten simple things that you can do today to make you happier backed by science. The post was obviously aimed at adults but made us think that we could use it as a basis for a self-help publication for children, in the more palatable form of fiction, that could act to prevent the slide to begin with. So we did.
The finished product needs one more edit and a few illustrations but it looks good. I just can't decide which cover to go for. However, there is only one way to offer it to the world...self-publishing!
The Big Warm ShedOnce again, the above book was created in the warm seclusion of Son Antem near Llucmajor in Mallorca. Our annual pilgrimage extended to four weeks in November and December. The lack of responsibilities and every day chores freed up the creative juices. The first draft was completed on the final day.
Further editing has been done in the rather cooler climes of Cheshire. For economic reasons, the Itinerant Poet does not switch the heating on when he keeps to his early morning rising as per the Central European Time Zone. Hence he has been at the dining table from about 6am each chilly morning. He definitely finds it more difficult writing back in the home environment. In our new house, there is no studio to escape to so the small hours are the only quiet times of isolation when he can shut out the rest of the world...and the household.
Home Education and the Teenage YearsHome-educated or not, there is no doubt that the teenage years can be very challenging - both for the teenagers and their parents. The children are emergent adults and wish to take more responsibility for themselves, it is just not always in the direction parents may wish. At what point do you stop trying to guide them according to your experiences and let them make their own mistakes? I don't believe there is any REAL text book for being a parent, you just have to fly by love, instinct and your own upbringing.
We continue to pursue IGCSE Geography and Physics with our two teenagers. It is difficult sometimes when the desire to create worlds on Minecraft or trade horses on Howrse outweighs the appeal of text books. These are the only computer games we allow access to and we try to strike a fair balance between the two. However, it never happens without a bit of animated discussion!
Recently, I found some solace and re-balancing of my own approach when I stumbled across the video by Logan Laplante - a home-educated 13 year old boy in the U.S.A. - that has accumulated over 4 million views. It is well worth watching and made me think again about what makes children happy versus what makes adults happy. There are plenty of areas for consideration and discussion so take a look...