Friday, October 16, 2009

Unlisted Symptom

Two paragraphs really grabbed my attention this week. There was this, from Terence Blacker's "Endpaper" in the Society of Authors' magazine The Author (Autumn 2009):

"There is something not quite right about those who write for children. Most of them, surely we can agree, have a small but significant psychological flaw which draws them back to childhood. As a result, creating fiction for young readers is more instinctive, more personality-based, than writing for adults and, in my personal belief, cannot be forced or learned if the spark is not there. You have to be slightly odd."

And this from John Dougherty's ABBA post:

"What you don’t appreciate, when you’re growing up with a Punning Dad, is that knowing almost anything you say might be punned upon gives you an awareness of language that other kids don’t have. You become alert to the meanings of words, and to their possible reinterpretation; you become conscious that what you mean to say might not be what is heard by the hearer or read by the reader. You develop a growing understanding of the subtleties of language; of its shades and tones and twists and tricks. You grow to recognise its strengths and limitations, and to love it for what it can do. And all this happens without anyone sitting you down in a classroom, or writing on a blackboard, or reading from a textbook. All this happens because you have a dad who loves language, and who passes on that love to you, with love, in a way that a four-year-old can understand - by being silly and making you laugh."

The thoughts in these paragraphs have joined the agitation between my ears of uncertain feelings and unclear analysis on the topics of writing for children, writing for adults, parents, children, my parents, my children. Granted, I've been harbouring some lurgie all week, with a unpleasantly impressive seventy-a-day seaman's cough and complete loss of temperature control. But I looked up the symptoms for Swine Flu on the internet and this kind of mental mess isn't mentioned as one of them. Still, I think I should probably wait until I can clear my throat without setting off car alarms in the next street, and then have another go at clearing my mind.

Meantime, I will refrain from breathing on anyone I like.

Cheers, Joan.

P.S. Lovely to hear from you guys - Stan and Peggy, Sue, Jo and Hilery - talk to me again soon!


Post a Comment

<< Home