They’re Just Children’s Stories
After recently being asked “Do you read much?” my initial reaction was to take insult. In truth there has been little traditional reading lately. You know, the kind where a book lives on your side table and has you up until all hours of the night. It just doesn’t suit me now when every minute of sleep seems precious and the call of three young’uns would be no later than 7am and often earlier. Again the distraction they provide during the day would limit my opportunities to pick up and put down the latest bestseller. It may surprise you to know that I don’t carry round a copy of The Grapes of Wrath spouting forth quotes in the middle of the supermarket or whichever social situation I happen to be part of. No, that kind of reading is for a future time when the demands of ‘daddy day-care’ are not so great. And, I look forward to it, I really do. For now I must read in the fractured and summarised way I do.
I start and end my day on the social networks. Who doesn’t? Most of it is random commentary that barely holds the interest but every now and then a link will point you to an article or story that inspires, proving there are writers and bloggers alike who have their finger on the pulse as much as any mainstream journalist. When it comes to the online world, online papers are my favourite thing to read and I scour the New Zealand Herald and the Irish Independent for their articles on most days. You won’t see me reading the Huffington Post – unless of course Chris Brown and Rihanna get back together again…but I digress. And what of print?
When I was a kid my favourite magazine was Penthouse but I’d only get to read that (yes read…there were stories) when I went to my cousins house. Of course that was by torchlight under the house. So you can see kids also try and escape adults to read and not just the other way around. These days my favourite magazine is National Geographic. It was a natural progression. Any story related to science, space and the environment takes my interest. If I could choose where I worked it would probably be there in terms of mainstream print. I may have lost touch with the world since travelling has been curbed in recent years but I haven’t forgotten how to write.
When it comes to print I am also a rereader. My wife never reads a book more than once except maybe Jeffrey Archer that one time. I’m a bit different. I won’t give as many books a go but when I do, the writer has me for life. I will be reminded of a book and then have a hunger to remember and reread passages. Sometimes it may only be fifty pages in the middle of a book but it is about seeking out moments of inspiration that made you want to write. Recently I watched The Hobbit movies and immediately pulled out my copy of the Tolkien book to see how it differed. The Hobbit was in essence a childrens story written by Tolkien for his own kids but it won over the hearts and minds of many. That was my angle when trying to write ‘The Hand of Maeve’. I want it to be something that preteens and young adults can enjoy also. While that story was inspired by a number of the fairy stories of my youth, it also reminded me how important children’s stories are when we take our first steps in the world of reading and writing. This brings me to what I read the most…lately.
Of the last 100,000 words I have read, at least half were written by Dr Seuss…I read them aloud and I read them with care, I read them until they had vowels in their hair. But it’s not just for me and it’s not just for them, it’s simply so we are all reading again.