You’d have to be a pretty vain old grandad gristle to imagine you could write a story that would suddenly stop kids playing games on their phones and soak up every word; maybe even asking for more! Well perhaps that’s just what every author believes they can achieve when he or she sets their words onto the page of a new book.
I’m sure I do; that is until some kid asks, ‘Grandad, whatever is a rocker box cover?’ or some such question, whereas if you’d have written escape velocity plus factor two, they would have understood immediately what it meant.
That’s the time you ask yourself, perhaps I should pen the stories that kids ask for, the sort of flash-bang adventures you find in most children’s book shops, where the beautifully illustrated covers portray a futuristic world of heroes or giant airborne creatures reminiscent of dinosaurs or domesticated dragons.
Stories we would all love to have written; or maybe not. You see there are people like me who still believe in the value of triggering that hint of wonder that can still be found in the everyday world that surrounds us; the plaintive echoes of a world long gone escaping from a gramophone that has to be wound up, or images of Laurel and Hardy, flickering on a silver screen that still have the ability to make us laugh.
Please don’t gasp ‘that’s just nostalgia’, when perhaps you really mean memories, the true links that bind one generation to the next and without which, quiet moments would be shallow indeed.
For me, these are the building blocks for stories, searching out the tiny and sometimes insignificant pictures trapped within our memories and fashioned into a beginning a middle and an end.
Of course, tales that can transport a child into some wondrous adventure in the outer reaches of space, or create the brave immortal heroes that will save the world from destruction, are valuable stories that need to be told.
But so too are the chronicles of the quiet creatures that inhabit the ordinary world, even the strange inanimate objects that are given a voice by so many authors and find a permanent place in our memories, objects such as little blue locomotives or even a fork and a spoon that once, we were told, jumped over the moon.
There are no dragons to be discovered along the track to Crosswart, or evil wizards poised to cast a spell on the unwary traveller passing through Aarons wood. Only a very sad snail. Even the Companions collecting the magenta liquid from the wood violets offer no threat, but may just help us to understand how our memories may triggered by the scent of violets carried on a summer breeze.
Working on this assumption it appears that I’m still a vain old grandad gristle who believes that such tales may just have a smidgen of value; simple stories that I love to write and very much hope will continue to be told.