steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

I Thought it All Out Twenty Years Ago

Today is my ten years anniversary of being on LJ/DW. Looking back, I see that my first ever entry was about someone who'd covered some Beatles songs in Cornish. There's a now-broken link to the site. "Ah, so many links have been broken!" I sigh, more or less automatically. But as many new ones have been forged, and reforged, through being on social media. I'm grateful to everyone who's been here (both online and off) in the last decade. It's definitely enriched my life.

On the other hand, I suppose I have to admit:

Number of novels published in the decade before I took up LJ - 6.
Number of novels published in the decade since I took up LJ - 0.

Correlation is not causation, though, and there were other things going on in my life that got in the way of novelling. I officially transitioned 5 years ago last month, almost exactly halfway through my LJ career to date, and of course a move like that doesn't come out of the blue; it was preceded by years of anguish and drama of a kind that I had and have no wish to splurge abroad. Still, even if social media is considered as a symptom of my spiritual condition rather than a cause, it's a striking statistic.

Or perhaps writing novels in the first place was the symptom? One of its functions was certainly to act as a kind of safety valve (a role currently played by learning Japanese), a place I could go to when other things became a bit grim. And it gave me opportunities for expression otherwise denied me: it's no coincidence that all my first-person characters were female.

Anyway, taken as a whole, I think it's worth celebrating these ten years, and in that spirit I made an impulse buy yesterday, at a children's-book art exhibition. It's Paul Howard's cover art for the 2008 edition of Tom's Midnight Garden, which I've always liked but is far more beautiful without the writing and bar codes. It's in pastels, and has a depth in reality that my crappy camera struggles to convey. I particularly like the combination of wonder and forlorn vulnerability in Tom, dwarfed as he is in this wider perspective by the house and its trees. (It would be idle to deny that I also like his pyjamas.)

Tom's Midnight Garden

book cover

I'm embarrassed to say how much it cost, but arguably I couldn't afford it.
Tags: books, real life
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