Monday, April 6, 2009

Childhood books and authors.

One of the things we talk about a lot around here is how the conventional educational system attempts to squish the creativity out of everyone who enters it. Now, I'm all for public schools. I went through the public school system in Ontario during the Mike Harris years and we saw drastic changes in quality. I also managed to make my way though and turn out to be a genuinely creative person. I spend all of my spare time making things, I have a well-developed imagination, I appreciate the creative efforts of the people around me, and I work to surround myself with beautiful things (thanks Em). However, I was a bit of an outcast in my earlier school days. I hated it then, but I thank the gods everyday now that I did. Somehow I made my way through a situation that I perceived to be difficult and unnecessary at the time and turned it into a character building experience. That being said, it is fairly obvious that many of the students I work with did not manage to succeed as I did; highschool has numbed their brains and sucked out much of their creativity.

In his retirement, Doug is planning on tackling this lack of creativity through the Guelph Guitar project. He aims to engage all of the people of Guelph in stories about the science and history in this city. I think this is a cool idea.

I'm dealing with this issue in my own way, as well. I think that remembering our favourite childhood stories, authors, and illustrators is a great way to get our creativity flowing. This is why I like to post about my favourites here. I'm creating a little collection of stories that had an impact on me in my formative years and gaining inspiration from them for my current work. Some day I'll even tell more people about this blog and they can take a look at them too. When we grow up we operate based on logic and learned reason (hopefully). But when we were young we operated on imagination and our perception of the unbelievably large world around us. There weren't any rules governing physics or the universe that we knew of, so the stories we admired could take us anywhere we wanted to go where we could do anything we wanted to do. I suppose some clever adults slipped in a meaningful lesson or two along the way, but really we were free to take them however we wanted to.

One of my favourite childhood places was Where the Wild Things Are. Maurice Sendak created this story in 1963. Reading that article, I just realized that the book contains only 10 sentences. The way I remember things, this story holds much more important information than my adult brain considers 10 sentences to contain.

Next October 2009, wherever you are, I'd recommend taking this in. It's amazing what creative people can do with 10 sentences and a lot of cash.


  1. RuthI recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. Wow, thanks for posting, Ruth! How did you find my blog?