There was a great piece in the Good Weekend section of the SMH last weekend on Neil Gaiman, who is in Australia promoting his latest book, ‘Norse Mythology’. The statistics are amazing; he has sold at least 45 million books in total and his children’s novella, ‘Coraline’ more than a million.
He has written across all genres…adult novels, graphic novels, science fiction, fantasy, YA novels and even three baby books about a small panda.
His comments about what are acceptable themes when writing for children leave pause for thought. ‘You are not telling children the bogeymen exist. Children already know that. You’re telling them that the bogeyman can be defeated.’ He is quite at home in magical contexts and fantasy.
I often come across his eminently sensible comments about writing and pin ones like this above my desk:
‘The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence you’re allowed to do whatever you like.’
I love this!
He even has words of wisdom about the internet and Google. In a recent article in the NY Times, as the writer wanders though a library in Mysore, India he sees above the desk, a poster paraphrasing a comment from Neil Gaiman: ‘Google can bring you 100,000 answers but a librarian can bring you the right one.’
This piece is titled ‘An Elegy for the Library’ and in these times dominated by the internet and smart phones, one hopes that kids and parents still value the resources of their local library. I know I do but I also fear that its existence is tenuous. It doesn’t fit any business plan or meet financial bottom lines.