I write for children. Here’s why:
Children’s books provide kids with a wilderness, a refuge for their beastly thoughts.
A child’s sense of wonder suffers from the discipline and rules imposed on them in their normal life, the stream of “Be quiet! Tidy that mess! Hurry up! Slow down! Don’t play with your food! Stop/Don’t/Be [insert verb of choice here]!” The constant manipulation and shaping of the adult — dissonance between what they should do and what they want to do — creates an outwardly respectable, internally malfunctioning individual. The child learns that bad feelings should be shut down, rather than experienced in healthy ways. An alternative way of thinking and a place to experience these ‘bad’ feelings must be provided if the child is not to require serious psychotherapy when they are older. Repressed emotions re-emerge in the disguise of hatred, intolerance and bitterness in the ‘respectable’ adult world.
Children are told not to experience rage and frustration and hate and despair. But it’s ok to feel these things. They’re encouraged to act happy and be content all the time, but that’s not natural. We need to experience the whole spectrum of human emotions. Let’s not repress them so that they explode later on in road rage and domestic violence and depression. Let’s experience them in a safe place. In books.
I write for the childish wild mind, so that it doesn’t die regardless of what children are told or taught. I write for the dangerous atavistic beast beaten into submission by rules and regulations. I write to encourage children to dream as big as the distance to the stars and back again. I write for the freedom for kids to feel what they feel and be liberated from shame. If I can preserve that wilderness in the mind of a single child, that’s worth all the bestsellers in the world.
Do you agree? Feel free to crush my argument like a paper cup, if you have a better one