Tuesday, May 10, 2011

There is something behind the wall, banging...

The weather here is awful at the moment. I do not mind the rain or the cold but when either is incessant I go a little barking mad. Having children exacerbates the problem, especially sporty children with school uniforms. People will soon start to talk about my kids repeatedly turning up in stinky and/or muddy things. I have a dryer but everything that goes in the dryer has a shortened life. All that tumbling would wear me out too. And uniforms for school or sports are expensive so i do not put them in the dryer...as much as I want to...as much as my hand inches along, creeping closer to the dryer door, itching to press the 'on' button, desperate to be free of the damp of wet clothes hanging on the clothes horse and the dehumidifier that runs day and night. And the wind makes things bang...

There is something behind the wall, banging. There is a high wind buffeting the house. A storm. But I do not think the two are related. The banging in the wall has a rhythm all its own. I wonder who it is. Trying to get in. I wonder what they want with me. I wonder if they know.

In the Weekend Herald's Canvas Magazine (Sat. May 7) there was a lovely article on Michael Morpurgo by Hermione Holby. I have not read anything of his - I read a lot and there are a lot of good books out there, so I refuse to feel bad about this - I am making my way towards his books I am sure. But I love him irrespective of his books, for his comments on literature and children's books.

Morpurgo himself was not a great reader as a child. He came from a literary family and explains that, "literature with the big 'L' was thrust down my throat from a certain age - as it is thrust down many kids' throats.

"I still, to some extent, rebel against that," he says, "because at the heart of every great work of literature, in my view, is a great story. I think at our peril we make literature this rather elite thing. Rather sadly we think of storytelling as writing for young people, and the number of times I've read comments on this play [War Horse] like 'what is remarkable is that it comes only from a children's book'. It reflects the way many people feel still about children's literature. We don't have respect for youth any more than we do for age. I mean the word 'childish' itself," he goes on, "it's not exactly a compliment. And yet if you lose the heart of yourself, if you lose the child in yourself you lose your soul."

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