|The author at a local school|
Anyway, last week a grade four child asked me a question no one has ever asked before: what's the last book you're ever going to write?
I was really taken by this question. I stared at the ceiling and tried to imagine what to say. A brief panoply of thoughts cascaded through my head, most of them esoteric and inappropriate, something along the lines of, "who knows when we'll ever do anything for the final time?" Thoughts of mortality, finality and the doubtfulness of existence briefly stopped me. "I doubt I'll know it's my last book, unless I'm really lucky, or perhaps very unlucky," I thought. But that's not a suitable answer for a 10-year-old. They want something concrete, something usable. A sound bite, perhaps. So I cast around a bit and suddenly some bright, friendly, companionable side of my personality came up with a plausible, honest answer. I said, "Well, I hope it's something happy, that makes other people happy, too." And I realized as soon as I said it, that I really meant it. That would be a lovely final book to write: a delightfully happy one. I should start thinking about it now.