Deal? - No Deal by Sandra Horn


On June 30th we were to set off for the Deal Festival via an overnight stop in Crowborough to catch up with my aunties. On the return journey we would have another stopover in Tunbridge Wells to see my brothers. On Wednesday 29th Niall, who had been uncharacteristically vague and forgetful for about a week, tested positive for covid. I followed suit 24 hours later. In the meantime, a flurry of emails and phone calls cancelled everything. We would have been at the World Premiere of Joy Spencer’s The Mud Maid Suite, signing books, presenting participating schools with signed hardbacks…the familiar kinds of things I thought I’d left behind years ago now, until Joy had a trip to Heligan and was hooked, first on the sculpture and then on the book. 



 I can’t think of myself as a children’s author legitimately these days. I’ve been dusting off some poems for children lately, not with any clear purpose, but they were written ages ago. All the books are now out of print. I’ve parted company with the accountant on the grounds that just earning enough to pay his fee doesn’t make sense. But then out of the blue, along comes Joy and my inbox is flooded with amazing work by children from the schools in Deal – prose, poetry, artwork, video clips of enactments – enough to make any old has-been’s heart sing. As part of the celebrations, alongside The Mud Maid, copies of The Giant were on sale and one has been taken to another school to see what might transpire. None of this lovely stuff is commercial, I’m quite clear about that. The days of earning some jam for the daily bread from writing are over, but from time to time, the fun of it all pops up out of the blue, and it’s just wonderful.

Apologies for the brevity. I’m typing this on Niall’s machine as mine has developed a tendency to crash at increasingly frequent intervals. I’m hoping that I can email it to mine and it will stay working long enough for me to upload it to Blogger. If not, I’m going to email it to an administrator, with apologies in advance for the nuisance. Fingers crossed. I may or may not be able to insert images, but I’ll try. It is, in Terry Pratchett’s immortal words, an embuggerance.


Peter Leyland said…
Great Sandra, your creative rush from 'out of the blue' chimes with my walk up from town where I hung onto the lines of a poem just long enough to write them down. One should always have a scrap of paper in a pocket!

The work from children's schools in Deal sounds fantastic. I keep fragments of children's work that I can never throw away. I imagine The Giant is one of your books. More power to you and thanks for a short but sweet post.
Bill Kirton said…
Lovely post, Sandra. And just to reiterate that ‘old has-been’s heart singing’ experience, I, too, remember with unparalleled delight many exchanges with primary school pupils, the most memorable of all being when I sat in front of one class encouraging them to create the characters for a story then tell it. It had a fairy, a dragon, a shark and a caveman, all of whom interacted beautifully and intriguingly. But the star turn was the shark. Attracted to a beach by the fairy’s singing, the caveman decided to do a bit of fishing and caught the shark. The climax, thanks to a quiet little girl in the third row, came when the shark came up the beach and said, ‘Hi. I’m Steve.’

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