Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sorry, Bob


One of the joys of teaching a children’s book writing and illustrating class is the chance to share the dark but wise writing advice, “Murder your darlings.” (Until I Googled it just now to check it, I had always thought that the line came from Orwell, but apparently I’ve been wrong. That’s another story, though.) Anyway, my translation of that phrase has always been: Don’t let pet moments get in the way of the story you really want to tell. It’s a line that’s always more fun to deploy than accept, but at the last minute here I took the bitter pill myself and decided that an LP of Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline (his Spring 1969 release) didn’t really belong in this drawing of a family watching the first moon landing, and I took it out. (I had already taken out the lava lamp. The George Nelson ball clock stayed.) And now? I kind of miss Bob.

Others’ stories of darlings murdered, happily or with regret, are welcome here, if you’ve got the material and the itch to procrastinate.

4 comments:

Julia Denos said...

Brian,
I recently had to take a little girl's tutu off and change it into shorts. It didn't make sense with the story no matter how awesome the tutu shape was on the first page. People should post more about this!

BTW that's a great retro living room. Sorry about Bob :(

Best,
Julia

Brian Floca said...

One person's tutu is another person's Bob Dylan!

Thanks for the post, Julia!

Yours in ruthless self-editing,
Brian

Christy Lenzi said...

Hi,
So there's no hope for Bob's resurrection, then? :(

Brian Floca said...

The question is appreciated, Christy, but that was it for Bob and Moonshot.

For what it’s worth, I recently received the Simon & Schuster Fall 2008 catalogue and saw on the page opposite The Hinky Pink (text by Megan McDonald, illustrations by yrs. truly) an entire picture book about Dylan: an illustrated edition of Forever Young. I tend to think that the idea of being “forever young” sounds better at twenty-five than at five, but maybe that’s just me. (J.M. Barrie kicks off Peter Pan, after all, with this dark thought about the knowledge that one must grow old: “You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”) So bring on the Dylan, the toddlers may be saying. Maybe I missed my big chance.