Kids keep me teetering along that fine line of complacency and wanting to do better. Their sense of logic, realism, fantasy and tender pragmatism somehow weaves into rich, satisfying life tapestries in ways I could never create with mere words, but try constantly to emulate. Their raw enthusiasm breathes life into art the same way coffee kick starts my tired brain. I simultaneously marvel and envy their crafty naivety. This also happens to be why I adore writing for them.
During recent Book Week Writing Workshops, when I asked students why they thought I might enjoy writing, the reply was often, "Because you like having fun." Yes. Who doesn't? Writing for kids is truck loads of fun.
One of the frequently asked questions I got asked (being not quite as well known as JK Rowling) was, "What have you written?" I garbled on about short stories for school magazines, picture books etc.
Hindsight being 100% correct and 100% useless meant I'd completely overlooked bringing along a copy of one of my published short stories to read to them. D'oh.
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Thursday, 25 August 2011
If you know of any people who want their stories heard please feel free to pass these onto them.
This is merely a start. Keep an eye out for more and keep on Loving Books!
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Monday, 22 August 2011
|A tour of the World|
|Angela shows grade 4s how easy it is|
In the coming days I will be offering the same students complimentary workshops on writing picture books and will endeavour to let you know how it all goes. Who knows, we may even unearth the next Mem Fox...
|Tell us a story|
Thursday, 11 August 2011
Monday, 8 August 2011
I remember waiting, barefoot and singleted, at the fence of our front yard in Townsville many dozens of moons ago, for the Mr Whippy van to appear. I'd been listening to the plaintive peel of Greensleeves for what seemed like hours, gradually getting louder and no less doleful as the van crept through suburban streets closer and closer to our front yard. The mere sound of of the melancholy tune sent the neighbourhood kids into frenzied rapture. Mum. Mum. Dad. HURRY, Mr Whippy is coming. No body wanted to miss out on a soft serve ice cream.
I can't remember if flake bars were around in those days. They might have been. I do recall the sometimes choking exhaust fumes which wafted around the van and the way it gurgled and gasped as though glad for a break as it sat like a fat pink Pied Piper of Hamelin surrounded by excited kids and hot flushed parents.
It's become a bit of a Sunday ritual, already. And while I marvel at the Z Generation's ability to take on every new nuance of their modern world (I spied a picture book about computers, texting on mobiles, laptops etc. the other day) I am quietly thankful that some things don't ever change.
Yes, as writers we need to be alert to today's world and the way in which our readers live in it. But it is refreshing to know that sometimes it really is the most simple of pleasures, be they the saccharine sweet pinkness of the good old Mr Whippy Van or the way a soft serve ice cream melts down your fist, that give us the most enjoyment. And these are most certainly worth writing about too.
The downside to Mr Whippy's regular visits (if there could be a downside to ice cream) is that at today's current rate of exchange and rising cost of sprinkles, we'll be broke by Christmas.
Wednesday, 3 August 2011
I'm not 100% certain but I reckon the mind's capacity to take in and store data has got to be pretty huge; at least 1 Tbs worth. At least it feels like that some days in my head. And often all that info forms into a thick claggy cloud of bewilderment, stress and inactivity.
Step 2: Hit the Shut Down Button
You need to do this to avoid data overload. De frag, reorganise, unclutter, minimise. Call it what you will just don't fill up your precious head space with anything for a while. If this means missing the social pages so be it. The world will get on without you. There are actually programs you can install which prevent you from surfing the Net and thus getting tempted and tangled. So what do you do instead of being chained to the keyboard? Maintain empty space is what.
Step 3: Get Dirty
Step 4: Nothing
Time to incorporate favourite snacks, and let your mind enjoy its new found simplicity and peace.
Step 5: Clean Up
Well we can't do nothing forever. And no one really appreciates the smell of dynamic lifter for very long. So shower off and prepare for enlightenment...
Step 6: Reboot
Step 7: Write
Alright, I've had too much sugar, smell a bit pooey, seen a terrific movie, the face book page has gone mental and have wasted several hours buried in middle school readers but was it all wasted? NO. For me, somewhere between Step 2 and 6, inspiration and imagination usually start sparking. Ideas ignite and creativity begins to crackle and pop. If this happens before your exercise is over be careful to jot them down for later use and resume as planned. Don't over fan your fire and extinguish it before it has a chance to fully take hold.
Before you know it you'll be writing up a fire storm...or at least hopefully have a few more bright sparks than before. Good luck.