My smart friend Janis, who is doing arts-education research with groups all over the world, gets excited about reading and writing sometimes. How timely that this email from her arrived this week—it makes the perfect follow-up to my last post, on reading and writing in a changing world. (Actually, these two posts don’t have much to do with one another; they are scattered and they prove only that I care about reading and writing but haven’t wrangled my thoughts completely yet.) ANYWAY, Janis writes:
To my creative writing friends,
I just finished reading this amazing book by one of my favorite authors. Oddly enough it was a book he’d written for children. When I reached the end of the story (and cried a little bit), I found, in the final pages of the edition I’d purchased a copy of the author’s Newbery [Medal] acceptance speech. I thought I’d share it with you because it reminded me of why literature and writing and books and libraries and such are deeply important. I could only find an extract, but it will have to do! The book, by the way, was Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.
I won’t share his whole speech here (partly because it’s not available in full, and partly because I attended a lecture today about fair-dealing and copyright laws, which made me as a blogger a little nervous…), but it is a good speech indeed! In it, Gaiman asserts that the most important kind of writing is writing for children (among other nuggets). You can read much of it here (and here is more on Gaiman winning the medal). Here’s one very tiny morsel:
I wrote it as best I could. That’s the only way I know how to write something. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be any good. It just means you try. And, most of all, I wrote the story that I wanted to read.
What else can I say? (Too much, so I’ll go eat dinner instead.)
P.S. Vancouverites: Gaiman and his wife (Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls) are coming to speak and play music to us! Check this out if you want to go.