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,
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