If you’ve ever heard me talk about Pearl Verses the World, my first verse novel, you may have also heard me talk about the piece of green paper on which the first poem of the book was written.
You see, one night when I was getting into bed, a few lines of poetry came into my head, and I had to get up, find a piece of paper, and write them down. Each time I tried to turn the light off and get some rest, a few more lines came to me, and I had to jump out of bed and write them down. Finally, my beloved started to get restless with all the late-night poetry making, and I had to give it a rest.
That poem, though, didn’t let me rest, and over the coming days I drafted more poems – until I realised that there was a story being told and that the voice, who was Pearl, was not going to leave me be until I wrote her tale. I’ll be forever grateful to Pearl for choosing me and being my muse that night.
So, I’ve talked about this piece of green paper many times, but I’ve never before produced the piece of paper. Today I was looking for something else and I found my Pearl Verses the World file. Lo and behold, in that file was the piece of paper I’d talked about so often.
If you’re interested, here it is:
What surprises me still, as it has done before, is how little that first draft changed from that late night session until publication. I added the missing ‘s’ to sometimes on the first line and later, after the story was accepted, the line ‘at least I have shade’ was removed.
Everything else I’ve ever written has needed writing and rewriting and editing and agonising and – well, you get the picture. Whatever struck me that night and in the weeks that followed as I wrote Pearl’s story was special. Sometimes I think it would be lovely it writing was always so easy but then I think that maybe that once in a lifetime bit of magic was just that – a one-off. It gave me faith in my writing abilities at a time when my self-belief was low. And it gave me this beautiful book:
Sharing Pearl’s world changed my own world, so this little piece of green paper is something I’ll forever treasure.