Updated: Jul 17
It's a momentous day: Darren has started working on the very last spread for the third Willow the Wonderer picture book. The end is in sight!
The picture book creation process
Developing each picture book is easily six months of full time effort, involving writing, editing, book design, illustrating, typesetting, and then finally getting everything together for print production. So when we reach milestones like this, it is very much a cause for celebration!
(And in case anyone is wondering what we do in the remaining 6 months ... well, that's when we wait for the narrative of the next Willow the Wonderer book to present itself!)
Every Willow the Wonderer picture book we develop is based around a very specific theme - the pursuit of happiness, the pace of living, and so on. We like to focus on the 'existential' questions that go to the heart of what makes us thinking and feeling human beings.
Unsurprisingly many cultured folks, whether they be poets or painters or philosophers, have explored these themes in their works before - and it is in their work that we often find, not only the inspiration and wisdom that shapes our stories, but also the strength to go on with the work to produce them.
A lovely surprise from Bowie
So it was a lovely surprise, as we sat watching a documentary on David Bowie on Friday, to come across a song that 'sang the spirit' of the third Willow the Wonderer book.
Admittedly, I am a tad ignorant on the history of Western pop culture, having grown up quite isolated from it all - and immersed in Bollywood instead...
Bollywood's movies may be 'kitschey', to the point of being unwatchable, but the one thing you can't fault the industry on, is the music (and dance) that has stemmed from it. Come to think of it, that's where my love for long form narrative poems probably comes from...
At any rate, agreeing on what music to play or can indeed be considered any 'good', is a topic of much contention in the 'Wise As' household!
The makings of a favourite song
Music is something that, I feel, benefits from familiarity. Haven't you found that songs will often 'grow on you'?
There are times when, listening to songs that are considered to be 'classics' in the Western pop culture, I find that they barely register with me. Even though I may like them at some level... they rarely have the same resonance for me as say, they'd do for Darren who grew up listening to it.
Some of Darren's favourite songs are infact those he'd listen to being played on the car radio by his dad, as he drove him around Wales and England for his cricket matches - which brings me to my other point.
Our enduring love for some songs often has to do more with the context in which we heard it, rather than the critical qualities pertaining to the song itself - whether it be some genius behind the lyrics, melody, rhythm, musicality or singing.
Some songs just grow to become the backdrops of our lives; listening to them transports us to those moments in time - when we were just coming of age, going to a rock concert for the first time, falling in love, having our heart broken, backpacking around the world - what ever it may be.
This is ultimately what, I think, endears a song to our hearts - and why each generation has a different soundtrack that they deem to be the "golden era" for music.
Then there are the exceptions
Having said this, there are some songs, that no matter who hears it, where they hear it, when they hear it - a first playing is enough to endear itself to the listener's heart.
This is what I felt a few days ago when at the end of documentary, as the credits were rolling, I heard Starman for the very first time.
I turned to Darren and said,
'This is it! This is the song for our third Willow the Wonderer book.'
And that my dear readers, is your first clue on what the third Willow the Wonderer picture book is going to be about...
We've been humming Starman all weekend so I thought I may as well share it with you all, as a bit of a teaser of what we are cooking up for you next!
Have a watch/listen to the live performance - I suspect for many of you, this will be a walk down memory lane... And let us know what you think the third Willow the Wonderer book is going to be about ?
"Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie "
(source: from https://www.vanityfair.com/london/2021/06/first-look-eternity-masayoshi-sukita)