Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Flamingo and the Writer - Joan Lennon

These big birds and children’s authors - what do we have in common?

Is it that both groups are leggy, prone to pink and spectacularly ridiculous-looking? Speaking as a short-legged pink-hater who can only dream of looking spectacularly anything, I’d say no. Is it that people tend to look at us strangely when they meet us at parties? Perhaps, though I can’t remember the last time I encountered a flamingo at a rave. Or, indeed, the last time I went to one myself.

No, I think the thing we have in common is that we are both groups which are better as groups than in isolation. We need each other.

Take flamingos. Flamingos won’t breed unless their numbers are greater than some magic flamingo minimum. Sneaky zoo keepers have got around this by putting big mirrors by their pools so that the birds think there are at least twice as many of their colleagues long-legging it about the place than there really are. And – hey presto – bouncing baby flamingos ensue.

Writers are the same. We don’t thrive in a vacuum. We write better when we are part of a collective of creativity. The more really good children’s books there are, the more there will be. Birds and book-writers alike, we need a community in order to be really pink and glowing.

For, as the saying goes, no flamingo is an island

Joan Lennon website
Joan Lennon blog


Leila said...

"I can’t remember the last time I encountered a flamingo at a rave"

Takes me back to my student days ;)

Laura Harrison said...

So! THATS why i love these birds! =D

I think they're so pretty! I love them.

Great post!


ME said...

He he. I like it!

When I'm not writing, I feel ungainly and awkward. When I write, I feel like I could soar.

Lovely metaphor!

Mavis said...

You are so right Joan - lovely as it is living in near isolation on this beautiful island I do miss contact with others. Take an Arvon Course for example - or the day you came over here and did a workshop for us - the ideas really start to fly. I am in need of some more input so am off to Moniack later this month. One of these days we will have to have you here again!

Rebecca Emin said...

Gorgeous post. It made me smile.

Dan Holloway said...

Leila - or this month's Alice's Day in Oxford, in fact!!

Coincidentally I've just written a post on the subject of whether writers do best in groups over at Kindle UK Authors
I've had the best and the worst experiences of my creative life working in collaborations, collectives, and groups. I can't imagine not being part of a creative group though.