Friday, February 22, 2013
Books and Why I Like Them
In this book I am in a chapter called, " Some Hints on Writing" She tells some stories about her early life that make me sad and amazed. I thought I would share her words here today.
"I think I write the kind of books I do because, when I was five years old, the Second World War broke out and everything went mad. Perfectly sane neighbors began crawling about in the field by our house with bushes tied to their heads, training for the Home Guard. The time was dangerous as well as mad. Airplanes, barrage balloons, and searchlights filled the sky. People you knew died suddenly when a bomb hit the end of the street. Ordinary life became unsafe the whole time. Anything could happen."
"London was very unsafe by then, and we were sent with a school to a big house in the Lake District. The house was the home of the children in Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome ( they were real people), Arthur Ransome himself lived in a houseboat on the lake nearby. He got annoyed by the noise some of the smaller children made playing on the lake shore and stormed in to complain. Beatrix Potter lived not too far away and she was real, too. She smacked my sister and her friend for swinging on her front gate."
Continuing: " The same house had also belonged to the secretary of the writer and artist John Ruskin. The lofts were stacked with thick paper on which the man had drawn pictures of flowers, hundreds of them. Now, at this stage in the war everything was in short supply and there was no drawing paper. So one afternoon I climbed into the loft and fetched down a big pile of the drawings and started to rub them out so that I could use the paper to drew on myself. John Ruskin drawings fetch thousands of pounds these days. I must have rubbed out several hundred pound's worth before I was caught and punished."
I love stories about real life and how little tiny, seemingly insignificant little things that go on can make real life so colorful. I have read 4 of her books, she writes for children. As she says, " Adults never get my books, but kids always understand them." I think to get her books, you have to still hang on to that bit of child that still lives inside. I know when I read them and I was in the midst of raising children and life just seemed so very complicated, her books made me uncomfortable. Now, I enjoy them. My husband loves a set of the books in a series called "The Chrestomanci series" He read all of them and enjoyed all and was sad when he was finished. I think her most popular title because they made a movie out of it is called " Howl's Moving Castle." In my mind I always compare Diana Wynn Jones to Madeline L' Engle. Both are wonderful writers and both I have enjoyed
I haven't written about books in awhile. I have this list that keeps growing in my mind of books I would like to write about. It is hard for me because I really do love children's fiction. Since I have taken my year off from buying books or going to the library and only reading from my own books, it has been a interesting experiment. Then again, it is like discovering old friends that have enriched my life.
Thank you for coming along today.