When I was creating Mr Bear’s Christmas last year, I was speaking with Andy (who composed the beautiful music for me) and I asked him to use only the major keys - only the good notes! He totally understood what I wanted Mr Bear to be and as he worked on various scenes, he would ping me a section to listen to. When we reached the part where Mouse gets lost on the forest, he wrote to me and said, this really has to be in a minor key. He was totally right, losing your best friend in a blizzard can hardly be accompanied by a twinkly melody! And how can the happy ending really exist without the tricky bit in the middle, it's storytelling 101, but it's so much harder to accept in your own realities. It was a lesson to me in valuing the part with the minor key. Much like lockdown has been a cue to sit with the weight, the discomfort, and learn to find a trust that it will soon change key.
Trusting the process, the path, the timing isn't always easy in a world of Fairy tales and dreams. I am all for believing in the best, but I am learning to remember that the challenges are part of the dream as well - so massively valuable and to make room for them too.
I wouldn’t be writing to you at all if there hadn’t been things to overcome to spark an idea for a story or a poem or an illustration. I am truly grateful for the tricky parts. But that gratitude usually comes with hindsight... Sitting with it in real time is very different.
There is a wonderful quote by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski about how lobsters grow. They outgrow their shells which become very confining and full of pressure and discomfort before they cast them off. But for a while - before they have a built a new shell - they’re soft squishy vulnerable things which need to hide under a rock until they're strong enough to make a new shell and go out again. This is such a valuable thing to remember that when the minor key strikes or you’re in a period of growth and change, it is more than permissible to hide under a rock until you feel ready to come out.