Just when you think Zoe Bowie Sings, Despite All Bad Things...Even MS is finished, it changes once again. Good times! Insert sad face here.
The title changed this weekend when I spent the good part of the weekend revising the finished manuscript. It all started with a name change...Zoe Bowie and the Meatball, MS Blues.
The new name popped into my head. Actually, it was the very first name I thought of, and then crossed off the list months ago. Like everything else in this book, it has come full circle; from a more concise, minimalistic picture book, to a chapter book, back to picture book. From one name to another, then to another and another and then back to the original. I'm realizing while it is easy to think that all those words and months and pictures were a waste of time, they weren't for naught.
Something in me didn't want to acknowledge the pang that told me to change the name again because I knew where that would lead - an almost entirely re-written book. Sure enough, twelve hours after changing the name of the book the manuscript was rewritten. One tiny change, led to a huge commotion of words and revisions.
Every time you change direction and explore, you grow. It's like wondering through the forest, finding some cool berries, and then going back home and making muffins with them. MMM...muffins. It is never wasted. The thoughts and discussions and work are all stored inside you somewhere and even when you turn around, you take those with you. It's not only cool, but necessary to enhance that original version.
Johnny's art has also evolved. His earlier, more bold, black-and-white sketches of Zoe Bowie have evolved to a style that accompanies the artwork laying around and hanging within his home. It's more abstract. Vibrant and colorful. It's more Johnny Keane.
It's not easy working creatively with anybody, not even your closest confidants in the universe. Our primary goal for this project was to write a book that would lend itself to kids who have a loved one with MS--they need a protagnist who too deals with a loved-one's MS. Our secondary goal was to achieve this by me writing like me, and Johnny drawing like Johnny.
Although the latest evolutions of the book, at least on my end, were a smidge of a bummer, "Oh man, I thought we were done. I just want to send it out!" I could still step out of my finger crampage from typing long enough to understand this was the best for everyone involved. It was more me. It was more him. Hopefully, together that equals a clear, concise, upbeat, rock on of a message to the kids out there who struggle as caregivers, carers, and just strong little humans who manage and cope and kick MS-arse on a daily basis.