Sunday, 4 September 2016

Don't just step on the cracks, go inside them – David Thorpe

There are cracks in reality.

We all know this. To go inside these cracks is to court insanity, although there's the possibility of rewards.

Like extreme sports fanatics wearing GoPro cameras, the best writers and illustrators/artists engage in high risk antics and broadcast their results to the world.

Flaviu Cernescu of Romania. Don't look down.

Often it's not even labelled literature. Have you seen the work of Oliver Jeffers?

It may be stuff for kids but it can't have been easy producing it.

The Day the Crayons Quit is about a clutch of disenchanted crayons who write letters of complaint to their owner.  What is that but a dramatisation of the self-doubt we all feel when we put pen to paper?

The Day the Crayons Quit

And what about Book Eating Boy? It doesn't make any sense. It's not reality, it's something else.

 Book Eating Boy

Then there's Stuck, about how to solve problems by throwing things at them. Isn't this what we always do? When we run out of patience?


Jeffers is dramatising pain, anguish, the human condition.

Wait a minute, this is for kids. How come it is allowed?

Someone smart has realised the kids don't want to make sense, not in the way that adults do.

Someone smart has realised that kids see the world in a different way. With a different reality. Is it any less valid?

Of course not. A certain computer company once had a slogan: Think Differently. Notwithstanding the fact that now they think like any other monopolistic corporation, they didn't really think that differently in the first place.

But kids do, and so do crazy people. They have something in common.

They live in the cracks between all the things we adults take for granted.

Living in the cracks can be fun.

But other grown-ups won't understand. They will want you to grow up and be like them. They will want you to talk like them and behave like them.

Not like the child who came round today and wouldn't stop screaming for half an hour no matter what you did. She was mad as hell and she wasn't going to take it any more.

It was dead impressive.

Perhaps if we did that more often reality might be different.

It might even be more bearable. Things might get changed.

Or we might get put away.

Or we might be really successful, like Oliver Jeffers.

[David Thorpe is a writer of Marvel's Captain Britain, and of the sci-fi YA novels HybridsDoc Chaos: The Chernobyl Effect and the cli-fi fantasy Stormteller.]


Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Great post! I love it when I'm given permission to act beyond the boundaries. And if my children are reading this...please don't put me in a retirement home with 80 other people all playing bridge and living in identical houses with the same upholstered sofas! Let me continue to explore the cracks.

Dotty Jo x said...

I read 'Stuck' to all the kids at school before the holiday! I work in a Primary School and each year group found something different in the story, Jo x

David Thorpe said...

Hi Dianne. Thanks, no, me neither, but I think by the time we're ready to go in a home, there'll be different homes catering for every type of person... including weird ones like us! And --- you ca give yourself permission to stray, you know! x