Ok ok- that's not entirely true (at all), but that's what Little Miss O thinks. You see, sometimes I make up stories to explain why she should or shouldn't do certain things...and since the girl doesn't like mushrooms, this little tale of mine has proven quite enough to put a stop to the 'but I don't wanna have a shower now Mummy' tantrums that I hear all kids pull at some point or other!
On the topic of stories, I have a confession...and this is probably an awful thing to admit from someone who loves to write, BUT I was never much into reading as a child. The thought of sitting down, quietly with a 'novel' pretty much filled me with dread - bleugh! I just didn't 'get' the meaning behind the stories - the stories that seemed to take forever to get to the point, the stories that seemed to bear no resemblance to my own life, thoughts or ambitions. In fact, the only book that I really engaged me as a child was 'Are You There God, It's Me Margaret' by Judy Blume'! I was also enjoyed 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', but that was because of the chocolate (!)... and if anyone asks, Roald Dahl himself is to blame for my undeniable chocoholic-ism!
Are You There God? It's Me Margaret.
It is fair to say that pre-1995, I just wasn't interested in the written word. That is until I accompanied a friend and her parents to watch an open air performance of a Shakespeare play. Now, I can't remember whether it was Othello or The Taming of the Shrew, but I can remember that there was a character called 'Bianca' in it! I was only 10 years old, and it only cost £3.50 (which seemed like a lot of money then), but I was fascinated. It was my first play, my first open-air play, and my first experience of 'live' art. I relished just being in the atmosphere and although I didn't understand the language of the performance, I finally 'got it'...I 'got' literature...the words came alive and I understood.
From there, most of literary experiences formed part of my studies, but on the sly, I fell in love with Shakespeare. Over the years, I've also found a few authors of fiction that I can really enjoy - Paulo Coelho and Alice Seabold are up there and of course there are my favourite poets Alice Walker and Maya Angelou. I love reading about love, life and what I call 'real stuff'. I have dozens of little books of quotes that I enjoy dipping in and out of. Actually, that's probably why I enjoy reading other people's blogs so much. I like things that I can relate to, things that I can 'get'...
But what about Little Miss O...well, despite only being 3 feet tall, she is quite the opposite of me in terms of her early years love of books! She absolutely adores being read to and would read 100 books in a row if I let her. She needs no encouragement whatsoever, in fact more often than not, it's me who is begging to go to bed! Baby girl knows the words from many of her favourite stories off by heart and corrects me if I mis-read something. I usually do different voices for the different characters and if I mix up the voices, she's the first to snigger and tell me:
'no, that's not his voice Mummy!'
[sometimes I deliberately mix up the voices, just to hear her cute post-toddler giggle]
Through Little Miss O, I have found a new love for reading and actually, I'm not so bad at making up alternative endings myself. I also love it when she holds up one finger and asks me for:
'just one more story Mummy, a really magical one, just from you - you don't even need to read it from a book!!'
No pressure then! I'm J.K Rowling you know! Still, I always try and baby girl seems to think I can 'make' magic which is kind of sweet really...
Anyway, today on the radio 4, I learnt that it is World Book Day on 1st March and I'm really excited (I still surprise myself by choosing this station sometimes!). I'm even thinking about entering the Storytelling Superstars Competition... you just have to upload a video of yourself (or whoever) reading a kid's story... simple, right?
Now, all I have to do is decide which story to read and how I'll make it 'magical'. I am sure Little Miss O will be full of ideas..!
What is/was your favourite book?