I’ve just discovered Kate DiCamillo, a little late, I know. Here are three reasons why I’m glad I did.
Her wonderful books, The Tale of Despereaux, Raymie Nightingale and Beverly, Right Here.
I love the humour, the sadness and the resilience of the characters. The hope that inspires them somehow transfers itself to me. After all, hope is the reason why we read in the first place. It’s the reason why we do anything at all.
Her Writing Advice
Her series of Writing Tip videos on You Tube. Each just a few minutes long, gently encourages me to do the work day by day. It seems so generous for any writer, let alone one of her calibre, to spend the time to make these little snippets for writing battlers.
Not everyone has the time to do a writing course, the money to pay for one, or the energy to put it to good use. For me, these bite-sized insights and encouragements, help to keep my hope alive. Doing a little each day, with a pen and a notebook, letting my hand tell what’s in my heart is enough. Success is whatever I want it to be and right now success is writing anything at all.
Her Other Advice
Kate says there is no right way to write. Whether or not you keep a journal or a notebook or eavesdrop on other people’s conversations or do anything ‘real’ writers are supposed to do, you have to be prepared to write and rewrite and rewrite.
Kate references ‘Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking’ by David Bayles and Ted Orland. This book proposes that every artist makes art in a unique way so that each artist must find the way that works for him or her. Furthermore, what works for one artist may not work for anyone else. Imitate away but as Kate paraphrases, ‘There is only one Mozart and that ain’t you.’ Reading this book is like having an uncomfortable disease but being reassured that you alone know how to manage it.
I still have many more Kate DiCamillo books to read and I hope she has many more to write.
What’s your favourite Kate DiCamillo book?