I was asked this question today. I always find it hard to answer. I can imagine that if you asked a baseball player why he play baseball he’s say it was because he enjoyed it. I can predict that if you asked a doctor why she practices medicine, she might say it was because she wants to help people. These are just conjectures. But while I can speculate about others, I don’t find it simple to imagine what answer people expect from me.
I suppose I write because I have to. Just like a runner needs to run, I feel a strong need to create entire realities that express my values and my imagination.
I also write for other people. I love to hear from my readers who tell me they enjoyed my books, saw themselves in them, recognized feelings they have had, enjoyed the little world I created. I like reading to school classes and listening to their ideas and responses afterwards.
I also hope that someday my descendants will know a little more about the real me. My grandchildren are too young to read my books now, but someday they’ll e able to. Maybe my son and daughter will be able to see into their mother’s imagination and get to know me a little better, too.
I need to tell my stories. I guess it’s as simple as that.
Having been honoured by my dear friend Amber Harvey’s request that I preview and critique her first novel for children, Magda’s Mayne Island Mystery, I read it together with my ten-year-old grandaughter. We had fun in Magda’s island world watching the fictional yet believable characters deal with both life’s easy and tougher challenges.
This island setting is familar to my grandaughter and I. We recognised the charm of the place in Amber’s quietly inserted descriptions. Like all good stories, the tale is universal – something like blaming others solves no conflict, look to your own feelings and needs. Again, it’s quietly inserted, no moralising, no shoulds or ought to’s.
Alas that first granddaughter became a teenager and was already into vampire stories when Amber’s second book in the series Mayne Island Aliens was published. I enjoyed it on my own. Now my second granddaughter is coming up to the age for Magda so I have an excellent excuse to read them again! Happily there will be three mysteries to enjoy with the publication of Mayne Island Skeletons. I look forward to hours of reading with my grandaughter snuggled beside me. But I might just sneak a read first when I get my hands on a copy of Skeletons because I can never let a good story sit on the shelf.
PS Like a good elder I read one of those vampire stories, just to check ‘em out and have to admit I might well have been attracted at thirteen!
full-time grand-mother, social activist and retired teacher-librarian
If your grandchildren didn’t acknowledge you on that day, it’s probably because other things of greater importance were happening, like the commemoration of the events that occurred ten years ago.
However, if you are fortunate enough to have grandchildren, remember that they are growing up faster than you are growing old, and enjoy every moment that you can with them. You’ll live on in their memories long after your body is used up. Make the memories significant. Give them the best of who you are. It’s really the only legacy worth leaving.