The Filing System
June 14, 2012
So I’ve been telling people for years that the original idea for CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’S GUIDE TO NOT READING came one day in September 2009, on the train home from work, when I wrote a quick draft of a picture book idea called THE BOY WHO HATED READING. (You can read the entire draft here.)
But that turns out to be incorrect.
Yesterday I was looking for an old letter on my computer when I came a Microsoft Word file, dated June 2007. This is the file in its entirety:
THE NON-READER’S MANUAL
A Book For People Who Don’t Like Books
THE NON-READER’S MANUAL is a humor book geared toward kids 10-16. It will have excuses, tips, suggestions, all with a sympathetic eye toward those who don’t like to read… but ultimately, it will convey the joy and pleasure of reading.
It will have illustrations, graphics, and as few words as possible.
And that’s as far as I got. I guess I got distracted. That happens a lot.
I have to tell you, seeing that file shocked the hell out of me. I have no memory of writing it. And it was a full two and a half years before I had the idea to write THE BOY WHO HATED READING.
But the interesting thing is, it was at the exact time that my kids – Charlie, Joe and Jack – would have been in middle school, like Charlie Joe Jackson. They were smack in the middle of hating reading, and this must have been my first thought about a book for non-readers. It was probably just a 5-minute moment, that my brain somehow tucked away and brought back out of of storage two years later.
I’m very grateful to my brain for having such a good filing system.