Maybe it is because I am now an avid reader, maybe it is because I write, maybe it is just because I have grown up but recently I have found helping in a library to be quite therapeutic. It is coming to the end of the year at the school I am teaching at and, as per usual with a set of children not understanding the intricacies of library systems, the books are a mess on the shelves. There are Rs in the B section, junior fiction in the senior section and some children do not realise that RAN comes before REB! I decided to help organise the books, helping to work out what was missing and putting them back in the right places. Apart from the fact that I have now found a few more books I would like to read (not good as I already have a massive book pile!), I found that I enjoyed putting them in order. Maybe it is actually the authoritarian in me! As a child I would have found the monotonous task a little soul-destroying but now I am having fun. I tried to think about why and I feel that as a writer I am helping other writers by doing this work. I am also giving a little back to the readers (the few I have!). It almost feels like I am doing the dirty work again, the first step on a longer journey as if I am now some sort of apprentice. It is almost like the first stage is to organise the books, next is to scan them out, then I can read them and finally I can move on to writing my own. It is a strange and weird feeling. In many ways this is a bit of a pointless post but I would really like to promote helping out in a library, even just for one day. As a writer let’s give a little back to the readers and the general community. Oh yeah, another good reason is that there is a sense of power in using the scanner as well, like I am lord of the books. “Why is this late?” “Have you tried this book?” “Where are you going, that book has not been scanned?” Right, I will get of my high horse now and attempt to finish my editing so I can release one of the many manuscripts I have sitting in Google Docs, just as soon as I have moved Tolkien before Tolstov!
At last I have finished my first pass of ‘The Fifth Coin.’ For the last few weeks I have been itching to do some writing (editing really is painful!) so have decided to add another piece of flash fiction to my sci-fi collection ‘The First Flash of Hope.’ I have had the idea for the story for some time but managed to stop myself writing it to focus on editing, until now. I have added a bit of horror in there as well as sci-fi and played on the idea of one species taking over the world (yes it is inspired by Planet of the Apes!). It may seem a little silly but there is a twist at the end. I really like it and think it is quite clever, but you may just realise what is happening straight away. Anyway, you can read it on wattpad.
Suppose I should start the second pass of ‘The Fifth Coin’ so I can send it to publishers and get rejected! Oh, and if you wanted to know, ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ is still with beta readers so expect that out at some point!
It is very rare that a book makes a large impression on my three year old son. As for me, reading children’s books every night I find many merge into one collective mass of stereotypes and twee endings. Recently we got ‘The Book With No Pictures’ by B.J. Novak from the library. My son had his five year old cousin over and I was reading both boys their bedtime stories, I was told I could choose so picked ‘The Book With No Pictures’ amongst others. When we got to that book both my son and his cousin protested, they did not want me to read them something that had nothing to look at in it. I pressed my advantage of being the father figure and was allowed to read it to them as long as they got another book as well.
The idea of ‘The Book With No Pictures’ is that it gets adults to say silly things out loud. Very quickly it had the three and five year old laughing loudly and repeating the comments I was saying. As soon as I finished they wanted me to read it again, in fact I had to stop them asking for rereads so they could get to bed on time. The book really does have no pictures but that does not matter, it is the words (and the fact it tricks an adult into saying silly things) that the children will enjoy.
The next day when we got up, ‘The Book With No Pictures’ was the first thing they asked for, ahead of CBeebies! We then went out to a farm park and both were singing the silly song in the book (it is only two lines so easy to remember) and saying out loud (shouting) many of the funny lines the book makes adults say. My son even asked for the book again at bedtime. If we are getting intellectual then this is the classic story of never judging a book by its cover, but really I just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed the book. So if you are looking for a silly book to read at bedtime, ‘The Book With No Pictures’ is a sure-fire hit!