So, I don’t know if you’re like me, but it was a long, long time before I got to an author event. I mean, really. At school we didn’t have author events. We didn’t ever really have, you know, people in. We once had somebody from Look North visit, every year at Juniors we got to go out and wave as the Milk Race went by, and I have very hazy memories about going to listen to some Christian pop singer? Anyway, there really wasn’t nothing like that when I were a kid. *taps pipe, goes back down t’mine*
But there are now. And now I get to go to them! And it’s weird, but every time I come out I think – I want this. I want this world. I want children debating where to put the otters and how best to make an icecream umbrella. (“I’ve coloured it blue because it’s blueberry icecream”), and I want people talking about where best to put the shark fin. I want this, this legitimising of creativity. Of being a bit different and of colouring out of the lines and not worrying about neat cutting.
Can I tell you you should really go and see Clara Vulliamy if you ever can? She’s really, really good. And lovely! And SO good at what she does. Watching her live-draw a scene from Dixie O’Day is a genuine joy (and so skillfully done!). There was a point where she tilted the pad to the side to illustrate a (no spoilers here!) cliff-hanger of a moment, and I was sold. This is before seeing the tiny felt Dixie and Percy in their model car and learning that the only place Dixie does not wear his tie is either in the bath or in his pjs, which just, er, sold me more.
But I think the reason you should go and see somebody like Vulliamy (and if you can, go with somebody like @childledchaos who is terribly splendid and inspirational) is that you will feel like this afterwards. Which is a great and brilliant and joyous thing.
*goes off to write magnum opus*
*has custard cream first*