Friday, 16 May 2014

Slug Wars! - John Dougherty

I was rousing my duvet-enfolded son from sleep the other morning when his sister came in and joined us. She wrapped herself in a blanket and lay on the bed next to him, and they looked at each other; and then he shouted,
“Slug Wars!”

A moment later they were slugs, rolling against one another, growling and giggling in a quite ridiculous and unsluglike way.

This is one of the things I love most about having children - those moments of joyous spontaneity when imagination is acted on without inhibition or self-censorship. It was probably one of the attractions of the surrealist art movement as well. The likes of Picasso and Dali were, I think, accessing their inner children and giving them permission to play.

In much the same way, a lot of good books are written by someone who’s getting in touch with their inner child and giving them permission to play (and in many cases, giving them chocolate, too). 

I hope I tapped into this childlike state of being, this surrealist mindset, when I wrote Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers. I wrote about this in greater length for the OUP blog, and I won’t repeat myself too much here, but please go take a look  if you haven’t already read it

My children are 13 and 11 now, and I love that they can still access their creative daftness so easily. For one thing, I think it will enable them to be more creative and fulfilled adults. For another, it makes me laugh. For a third, it inspires me to be more playful and creative, and so - I hope - a better writer.

And in an example of a virtuous circle, the books they read - mine included - will, I hope, inspire their creativity, which will inspire mine, which will inspire theirs, which will inspire mine.

Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers is illustrated by David Tazzyman and published by OUP


Pippa Goodhart said...

Now I want to wrap in a duvet and play slug wars instead of working!

Stroppy Author said...

I really, really hope you are going to write a book called Slug Wars, John. If not, can I? Mine did maggot races - same principal, but zipped into a sleeping bag and usually involving precarious cascading down stairs

John Dougherty said...

I've got no plans to at the moment, Anne, and there's no copyright in titles!

Nicola Morgan said...

I'm torn. On the one hand I am deeply disappointed and let down, because I was convinced you were going to tell me how to get rid of the slugs in my compost bin. On the other hand, I love your kids' slug wars a lot better than anything practical.