|Still trying to write...|
Anyway, in case you hadn't guessed, I have just undergone some surgery and because of the amount of pain I have been taking huge amounts of drugs including morphine. I kept thinking of all those amazing writers who produced incredible stuff whilst consuming vast amounts of laudanum and wondered when my moment was going to come. When were these amazing words going to fall out of my fingers onto the screen? They didn't, they have stayed resolutely buried within my grey matter, which has got greyier by the day.
I have been reading (and rereading as the drugs seem to make taking anything in an impossibility) an essay by Zadie Smith entitled 'Rereading Barthes and Nabokov.' It is a good essay and I intended to write a highfaluting response - again mega fail on my part - one day I will but not yet. What I did keep getting attracted to was an idea of Milan Kundera's that she mentions: 'Great novels are always a little more intelligent than their authors.'And I believe this is no less the case with children's books when you write them. They should take the author beyond what they know and understand in the same way. My great friend Foucault talks about this too when he says 'it would probably not be worth the trouble of making books if they failed to teach the author something he hadn't known before.' This flies in the face slightly of 'write what you know' but if we only wrote what we knew a lot of books would never have been written - how may of you went to Wizard schools, have ridden on the back of polar bears or have fallen through the back of a wardrobe to find a Narnia....
Writing is in fact all about challenging everyone - not just the writer but the reader too. Taking them to all sorts of new places. Opening the reader's eyes and giving them a chance to dance in new worlds. The point with children is they often understand far more than they can articulate so the books you write for them need to be a challenge too.
...and that's as far as I can go with my response to the essay. And my dreams of amazing words dissolved in the morphine blues. Maybe next week will be better I will see the world clearly again and in the meantime something for me to escape into: