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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

The Dormouse Diaries


First of all, please excuse the poor quality of my images. I find it very difficult to photograph pencil drawings, and this is about the best I could do.


Last week, when I was researching my dormouse article for the newsletter, I became‒quite understandably, I’d say‒enamored of these tiny rodents. Although they are rodents, they’re not mice at all, but instead are more closely related to squirrels and beavers. In any case, as I browsed through many photos of these little cutes, a desire to paint or draw them possessed me.


And then, the title of a book that would truly be fun to write possessed me too, The Dormouse Diaries. Sadly, as all of us who are afflicted with Shiny Object Syndrome know only too well, we can’t actually do all the projects which call to us. Even so, for a few exciting moments, I thought about dropping everything I had in progress and beginning to sketch out (in words, that is) who my characters would be. But I didn’t do it.


Instead, I reached a compromise with myself. I’d design the cover as an art journal spread. That would be OK because working in my art journal is one of my “authorized” activities‒that is, something that contributes to writing my blog and/or newsletter.


I didn’t really think about the composition, but I did remember that the dormouse I thought was the cutest, and also among the smallest, is the hazel dormouse, the only dormouse species in Britain. Once I remembered that, it seemed obvious that hazel leaves and nuts should be part of the design. And, since it was to be a book cover, there would also obviously be text. A layout began to take shape in my mind.




So, I just started drawing dormice and hazel leaves and nuts, and added a little blurb on what would be the back cover explaining what the book would be about.


By now, I really liked the piece as a book cover, and once again the desire to work on it for real gripped me. But, no!


I stayed on track with the art journal spread, but then another guilty thought entered my mind. I could remove the pages and use them to make the covers of another journal, then write in it as the real Dormouse Diaries. It’s tempting, but it violates one of my “art journal rules”: no removing pages, and no adding pages. Each journal stands on its own, as created page by page.


Anyway, I haven’t added color yet, and once I do that, I may not like it at all anymore. Or I might decide to do it differently and start a new piece destined to be an actual book cover. Or another bright idea might show up and steal the show from The Dormouse Diaries. We’ll see!


Hmmm. I just had another idea. When I’m finished with the spread, maybe I could scan it and make a good copy and use that for a book cover.


So, you see, there are many creative ways of dealing with Shiny Object Syndrome. What do you do?

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Stephanie Hardy
Stephanie Hardy
26. 10. 2023

Ooh, Shiny Object Syndrome! I have to make myself sit down with a nice warm cup of tea so I don't get overwhelmed with all the ideas flowing through my poor little brain. I definitely get overly distracted with all the fun stuff we can make!

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Lillian Green
Lillian Green
25. 10. 2023

Ps: love your drawings!

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