Writing for the most exciting audience

“Day 9 of my 110 days of practicing being more courageous” Project

I know I will one day become a published author and I have been sifting through my interest treasure chest wondering what sort of books I really want to write. I noticed that I have been captivated by children writers for a while now and I happen to be doing a lot of reading children books with my toddler at the moment and I marvel upon the skill these writers seem to have to capture the young minds. And I want that.

Yesterday as I drove to Uni to pick up my ID, I stumbled upon Mariella Frostrup on Times radio as she interviewed Malorie Blackman a genius, prolific writer of children’s books.

Upon asking her why she wrote for children, Malorie said, she prefers to write for children and teens cause they are inquisitive and challenge the conventional.

Like most writers, she stressed that she is that type of writer who was shaped by her background and environment and the love of reading pushed her to becoming a writer.

 I too find myself wanting to  to be such a writer who will  relish any challenge and  write things that scare  me and even  controversial at times as long as it opens  up more conversation. This would definitely include race, equality and gender issues.

 When asked about why she is always playing the race card.  Malorie’s beautiful answer was “…because I am always dealt this card all the time ”So true!

I too find that my white colleagues and adults friends by virtue of the colour of my skin, tend to bring race up all the time. I suppose perhaps it’s fascinating for them to want to know how it feels like to live in my skin and world! But I have noticed that children who notice (not all notice that  I am different by the wqy) are ever so curious too but go further and ask those awkward questions freely and innocently  yet some even want to feel and touch or play with my hair. I find this very interesting and definitely I am interested in dispelling some of the myths that shroud my being Black.

I concur  again with Malorie that when asked a question such as how she views her life in the whole scheme of things as compared to other people, It’s very hard to compare your life with other people cause only you have lived your life.

I think growing up too, albeit in Africa, I realised that quite early that in all the children’ classics  children’s fairy tales, princesses and princes that looked like me did not exist and I seemed not to be there in the books. I even recall that my very first doll called Doreen had blonde silky hair. Come to think of it, in all the Tom Sawyers, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drews, Dickens or even during my Mills and Boon season as a hormonal teen (🙈), no black characters seemed to be having adventures.

Therefore,  I absolutely think that all children deserve to see all races. Thank goodness, I think dawn has broken in the equal representation front what with the influences of the Black Panther, Beyonce and the Obama effect we  are really in the era where its actually becoming ubiquitous for black characters to be protagonists in the media.

Crafting an idea

Malorie has written over 70 books and counting and writing this much I wondered how she did it. Her answer was simple. She said coming up with ideas is always easy for her. The First draft always seem to come naturally quickly but it was the editing that was harder and it took her about 6-7 edits before the manuscript  even saw the light of day.

Yet Malorie said that initially her work was rejected  a total of 82 times  but kept  going by the sheer determination  of knowing that this was  what she really wanted to do more than anything and therefore giving up was not an option. She said that also being simply stubborn. It surely takes a thick skin to continue like she did.

She added that she had learnt very early that when someone stands in front of you saying you can’t have this or that, you can either stand and argue with them or you find your way around and achieve it anyhow. She had resilience. She said the last thing she ever wanted anyone to say about her was that she had not tried- so, she kept going.

Later yesterday as I put my little toddler to bed- I read him his school bring home book  Connie and Rollo by Dick King Smith. Absolutely fell in love with his writing and went to work to do a little dig on him. In one interview before he passed away he quipped that he considered himself a very lucky person who had done lots of different things in his life and most of them not very well till he stumbled upon writing. He claimed he had been a soldier, and wasn’t a very good at it. He said he tried farming, failed as a farmer, also became a bad business man and a sales man who couldn’t  sell much. But by golly he was a prolific genius  at it and wrote over 130 books in his life time yet he started late at the ripe age of 56!

His self-deprecating manner was awfully hilarious 😂

His website shared the most amusing of fan letters from children’  innocent yet blunt letters. A few that blew me away were;-

Dear Mr King-Smith, I was going to write to Roald Dahl, but he died, so I’m writing to you instead.’

‘I do enjoy your books, please try to write a few more before you die.’

‘Dear Dick King-Smith – my favourite author is Jacqueline Wilson.’

‘Dear Dick King-Smith, are you dead yet?’

 (From <https://www.dickkingsmith.com/about/a-writer-at-last/> )

You really have got to love children. Surely how can I resist writing for such an exciting bunch. So, my courageous self is choosing sharpening my skills in captivating this hard to please audience. I really must be a sucker for pain alright! But I  refuse right here right now to be refused!

Author:

So, there we go…. This is my thinking pad. I am first and foremost writing this to myself but happy that you have taken time to check it out. I do hope that as you read my thoughts put on paper in a very small or big way it helps demystify social work as a profession to you. If not that, at least shed a light on how different the world looks from my point of view. I know it’s a cliche that social workers enter the profession to give back. It’s more than a job to most, it’s a calling. Hands up- I started this blog to speak up and not go silent since I too truly entered this profession to make a difference. My difference may be minuscule in the whole scheme of things- but as long as I brighten the little corner I am perched- no matter how small the corner is… I will consider it success. Amongst other little quaky habits, note I am an intentional odd sock girl which may or may not ruffle some feathers out there- random- but just saying! I also wish in my little way to contribute to newly qualified Social Workers who may find their work daunting. If you are or know anyone who finds themselves all muddled and confused in their new adventure as a Social worker- point them this way for I intend to paint a picture that Social Work is all but rocket science. It’s all too familiar to feel overwhelmed or challenged when you begin your practice but just remember, you are not alone or the first one to feel that way. In all circumstances you must always reframe your internal dialogue and constantly remind yourself that even the most qualified and confident of social workers you know once felt inadequate once upon a time. It’s important to always remind yourself that this is the first time you may be doing something- no wonder it’s difficult or challenging or taking longer than expected. With time, it will becomes easy peasy!

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