I read something last night over on headguruteacher which has got me thinking. He talks about the difference between knowledge and skills, and the way they interplay and whether one is useful without the other or if, in fact, it’s a symbiotic relationship. It’s a post well worth wallowing in, and one that I think bears a lot of weight through the ‘questioning’ nature of it. Questioning something is, I think, a skill (ability?) I did not learn until I hit university and spent my days contemplating the poetics of dahlias.
And if I think anything about reading, about children’s literature, about textual based narratives, about literature in general, I think this: question it.
Questioning something, pushing in and around and touching something makes you know it. It makes you understand it. It makes you get the feel of how it’s cut, how it’s shaped, and the longer you spend with it, the more you realise how beautifully (or hideously) it’s been put together. That care has been taken over each and every element of it.
Over the curve of the comma, or the way that a sentence ends
Or the way that a dash – keeps you – just – a – little – bit – on – edge
(or the way that parentheses can sidle up to you with a confidential wink and a covert statement).
Learn to question – learn that you CAN question them – that stories are not some precious, pristine thing to be viewed from a distance, untouchable, unapproachable. Stories are messy, human things, full of hope and light and shadows. They are scrappy, perfect, wondrous things.
It is through learning that I could question words, that I have the right to question words, that I learnt to love them.