I fancy myself a writer. It’s a rather lofty aim of mine to one day write a novel – after all, apparently we all have one great novel in us. Personally, I’d like to know who keeps putting novels inside people. I mean, ew.
That aside, my aim would be to write a book for my daughter, who keeps asking me to tell her stories, especially spooky stories. The trouble is, I can’t simply magic up a story off the top of my head, I need to think about it and put it to paper, and my little girl is not nearly patient enough to wait for me to chew the fat and produce a thrilling tale. What I’m therefore doing is putting together a vampire story, and trying to carefully balance it so it’s appropriate for a seven year-old, whilst having it be scary. In theory I can do this, but lines about ‘torn flesh’ and ‘bloodied ruins’ might not be the best choice of words.
Still, to write ‘the creepy vampire bared his fangs’ seems just a little tame.
What’s the limit with kids? My favourite child’s author, Roald Dahl, was not afraid to push the envelope in terms of macabre or disgusting. How about Revolting Rhymes? Or The Twits? How about the brutal opening scene of James and the Giant Peach? Here was a man who understood that children could handle being scared, or grossed out – and not only handle but enjoy it. I dare say the modern successor to Dahl’s style is David Walliams, whose books are in fact quite grim (Demon Dentist and Awful Auntie, you both have a lot to answer for in my house), and also quite poignant – last Friday marked twenty years since my grandfather passed away, so given the touching ending and words of Grandpa’s Great Escape… well, my eyes were wet, let’s just put it that way.
Perhaps this explains the more sombre tone I am adopting today. Time moves forward so quickly, quicker than we realise – one day I was reading Roald Dahl books and listening my grandfather tell me stories – the next, I am reading Dahl’s stories to my daughter, and reminiscing about my grandfather. To add to my reflective mood, I had a dream about my dear grandmother recently… it was emotional. My brother and I could see her, my little girl couldn’t. This particular dream followed on from a pair of exceptionally weird dreams (Hillary Clinton stepping into the ring in Las Vegas and taking on a heavy champ, check, nuclear war, check), but it meant at least that the dream ended with me seeing my Nan. I can’t ask for more than that.
Wow, this started out as ‘Telling Stories’ and I guess that’s true. I’ve spun a bit of a yarn here after all. I guess that’s what we all need to keep doing – tell stories, listen to each other, and I’ll sign off this post with the words at the end of Grandpa’s Great Escape…
‘As long you as you love me, I can never die.’