11 Mar Origins and Origami
The first Bunyip Tree book was published in 2009 which means that I have been writing for over ten years. So as 2019 rolls its way far too quickly across the calendar, I thought it was time to review my writing career…
… Which, of course, started way before 2009 and the Bunyip Tree world…
…maybe as far back as the mid 90’s.
I worked as a designer at a magazine and sat not too far from a contributing journalist who could only get his brain to write by throwing a ball continuously at the wall and catching it. He would do this for twenty minutes, stopping only to hit a few keys and then back to the throwing until inexplicably running from the room, not returning for ten minutes or so.
I’m still not sure where he went for those ten-minute intervals.
After enduring hours of this repeated behaviour and needing some sort of catharsis, I would wait for a ‘missing in action’ phase in the sequence and quietly walk over to his laptop and add a few unrelated paragraphs into his copy. Usually, something about herds of llama’s being chased through the mountains at night by bloodthirsty predators.
I cannot begin to describe the joy that writing these paragraphs used to bring me. It was only enhanced when the unsolicited additions were discovered, sometimes much later, and my name was yelled with shock and outrage… “HAMPSON!”
I know these are inauspicious beginnings, but those early works in all their passive-aggressive glory were the first time that I had written with a sense of joy and a feeling of achievement. Looking back, it may have been the start of it all.
There are lessons to be learned from this story if you look deeply enough.
Make sure you password protect your computer before leaving it unattended, comes to mind. There are others. Writing with the anticipation of your audience’s response bringing an entirely new dimension to the craft. Working hard to surprise your reader.
The biggest lesson, of course, is that writing is great fun.
It is this sense of fun that is the genesis of the Bunyip Tree children’s books. Fun characters, fun stories and illustrations that can only make you smile. Some of my favourite memories are of sharing the books at school visits and seeing a room full of children light up. Now that’s fun.