Park City author Pam Carlquist has been working on her new novel, “The Mudbug and the Winged Creature” for almost 40 years.
“When I was in my late twenties, a good friend of mine told me about a funeral he attended for two young siblings who had been tragically killed in a pedestrian accident,” he said. said Carlquist. “He returned from service in awe as the parents, who were devastated by the incident, created a wonderful memorial service that was a total celebration of life.”
Parents expressed gratitude for the short but happy time they were able to share with their children, and the presiding pastor told a metaphorical story about an aquatic insect that eventually turned into a dragonfly, she said. .
âThe pastor spoke of the insect’s transformation from a creature that just wandered the earth into something that would ultimately be able to fly freely,â Carlquist said. This story touched Carlquist so much that she rewrote it several years later for her cousin who had lost a child to a long illness.
âBefore I wrote it, I searched bookstores and libraries, trying to find this story, because I thought it would help my cousin,â she said. âI couldn’t find it, so I wrote down what I remember best about this story. I sent it to him.
At that time, Carlquist was teaching English at Park City High School and using history in a program she was developing called Motivational Magic.
âWe were using the story in a few exercises, and several students told me that I had to turn the story into a real book,â she said. “I thought about it for years and finally decided to do it.”
Carlquist recruited his friend, photographer David Anderson, to take some photos for the book.
âI decided to put it aside because I was inexperienced and not good enough to work with Photoshop the way I wanted,â she said.
For years Carlquist thought about the book and hired a graphic designer to help with the cover and interior formatting.
“I eventually learned to do Photoshop and took the project upon myself, due to the very nature of this photo book, unless I wanted to pay a fortune for these services I would have to learn how to do almost everything on my own. “she said. . âSo I started out, stopping frequently to watch tutorials and calling Photoshop and computer programming experts whenever I was completely stuck – which often was – generally stretching my creative abilities. to their limits. “
Throughout the process, Carlquist returned to the manuscript for edits and rewrites.
âWhen I first wrote it, it was just a story, but little by little, when I embellished it, the words flowed like poetry,â she said. “I wrote it for adults, but it’s for people of all ages, and I felt like it was just waiting to be written.”
In 2016, while performing one of her âMillion Rewrites,â Carlquist found a number of short stories, booklets, and poems on the Bug and Dragonfly transformation myth.
âI don’t know who made up the story first, but it has been adapted by a number of people,â she said. âDuring my research I found, as far as I know, that mine was larger. “
“The Mudbug and the Winged Creature” is not Carlquist’s first book. In 2013, she published a memoir, âMoving with God Past the Pain of Divorce, Death or Any Parting of Lives Once Joined,â a collection of letters she wrote to God during her divorce.
Carlquist’s experience in publishing this book influenced how she would approach her new book.
After sending his manuscript to publishers, Carlquist was offered a few contracts.
âI turned them down, because I wanted to do things my way, because it was such a personal book,â she said. âFor this book, I also self-edited, because I wanted to do it my way. I think I’ll send it to the editors to see what happens, though.
Right now, Carlquist is happy that her persistence with the new book has paid off, and at 72, she is proud to see her work pay off.
âAll of these challenges seemed daunting at times, and I spent many sleepless nights struggling with the fear of not having what it would take to fulfill my dream,â she said. âI think we only find our truest and best selves when we follow our heart aspirations. And I did it with this book, just like the mud bug did in the book. Sometimes we have to leave the safety of the familiar and descend into the unknown.