Saturday, August 28, 2010

Who de we write for?...

I am not getting much writing time at the moment. Still another assignment due (should be finished tomorrow or next day I hope) and there are two essays due by October 20th. I am keen to get stuck in on the contracted book but can't, quite yet. My offspring are up to their eyeballs (and mine) in out-of-school activities. If I charged for taxi driving duties I would be nicely rich. September is almost solidly booked out with tournaments, competitions, and events. I am at the top of the stairs leading to the longest slipperiest slide you have ever seen and yes my heart is pounding and my knees knocking out a lively little ditty. I am closing my appointment diary on October.

Although they are keeping me busier than I want to be, my studies are interesting, enlightening and ultimately motivating. Read an article in my study guide by Mem Fox yesterday about who we write for. Here is a little of what she said:

As a writer for very young children I often struggle with the question: just who am I supposed to be writing for?

Do I write for publishers, so they can make a dollar? Do I write for the critics, so they can make smart remarks? Is it for the bookshops, so they can pay their rent? Or is it for academics, so they can deconstruct the text, write articles and seek promotion? Is it for the bestseller lists and the book awards so they can make or break me? Or is it for librarians and teachers, so they can use my books in some teaching/learning program they're planning? Do I write for illustrators, so they can share my royalties? Or is it for parents, so they can do the right educational thing by their children? Or do I simply write for me, so I can pay the mortgage I've saddled myself with? Or, in the final analysis, do I write for the very young children so they may be enchanted, informed and comforted? The answer to each and every one of these questions is: yes. To write at all is to write for everyone.

How ever, while I know that when I write I cannot control my audiences nor ignore them, I know my primary audience must be very young children. If others read my work meanwhile, so be it; but if I consciously write for all those others I'll find that failure is all that I achieve...

...It is far, far better to ache with caring for the children for whom I write, to keep those little kids firmly in mind, far away from the ubiquitous bottom lines on the bank statements, to see their wide eyes and bright faces, to imagine them curled up in bed, caressed by parental voices, or sitting cross-legged on the mat in school as a teacher reads the words aloud, weaving the magic spells of literacy.

I am writing to conjure young under-five-year-old children into loving reading, to inform them, to entertain them, to enchant and affect them, to provide escapist delight, to challenge values and assumptions, to present my own values, to assist in the development of literacy, to make them feel good about themselves and their world, to present hope and ideals and possibilities, and to enhance relationships between reader and read-to.

Ok, so a touch more cynical in places than I can manage but I will not argue with the last two paragraphs.

1 comment:

Old Kitty said...

"Will somebody please think of the children?" (running gag from the Simmpsons!).

But seriously!! I think kiddies have the best writers writing for them!!

take care