Category Archives: Blogging

Some (rambling) Thoughts on Boys & Reading

These thoughts came about while watching the #BoysAndMen tag on Twitter from the London Book Fair yesterday, and getting involved in the online discussions, I am stillupset at missing out on going!

Anyway… on to my thoughts:

One thing I do know for sure is that it is very hard to turn a reader into a non-reader

Some other things of which I am aware:

    Boys read fewer books than girls
    Women buy and read more books than men do
    Some boys do read
    Not all girls read

I have seen gendered reading schemes focusing on young male readers, The Dads and Lads, Mothers and Sons groups being the most widely spread but I have never seen a reading scheme focusing on solely on girls (if anyone knows of any please let me know!)

I have been in the UK for 13 years now and have worked with teens in libraries for a large part of that time. A decade ago it was all about getting teens into libraries and reading, as the resident teen library person in the local authority that I was working in that task fell to me and a couple of colleagues, one of the biggest fights I had was to be allowed to run events for the teens that actually used the library rather than the ones that did not want to be there. Prevailing wisdom seemed to think that we already had the ones that came to us so they were not a problem; I won that fight as I stood firm in my belief that if you build a better teen library service they will come! (it does work!)

The most success I had at getting boys to read was in mixed groups, in the past boys used to see where girls were congregating in the library and follow them in.

I have found that non-readers on their own or if there are only one or two in a group where the focus is on reading will soon fall into reading. Problems arise when non-readers in a group form the majority and then they feed off each other’s antipathy to reading, this strengthens their resistance to picking up a book and they can distract the attendees that actually want to read.

Divide and rule by peer pressure can be positive if engineered correctly.

I believe that it is nurture over nature that influences a person as a reader. I am the middle of three brothers; we were all brought up in the same household surrounded by books and regular trips to the library for story-times. I love reading and owning my own books, my younger brother enjoys reading and my older brother (and his wife) are bringing up their children with a love of reading, as does my younger brother and as will I.

I have also seen youngsters that come from homes with few to no books pick up a book and fall into reading but they are a minority.

What I would like to know is what makes young readers readers – I am not talking about peer suggestions, advertising or pop culture attractions but rather what in their lives led them to pick up a book and fall in love with the act of reading. Every child loves being read to – even teenagers but what is lost or made stronger when they have to read the stories to themselves?

When it comes to reading the United Kingdom does its utmost to engage citizens from birth, with Bookstart Packs for babies and toddlers. Even with the public service cuts libraries still run baby & toddler times and story sessions and it is all free!

So if anyone would like to add comments or suggestions please do so below!

Red House Children’s Book Award blog tour: Stuart Hill

princeoftheicemarkI enjoyed writing The Prince of the Icemark enormously; and in fact it was inspired by several readers who sent fan letters asking to know more about Redrought as a character. He was killed quite early in The Cry of the Icemark but obviously the huge bear of a man who was the King of his country, a doting father and loved cats with a passion, made quite an impression on the readers, and so the scene was set for a revisit. But this time I wanted to study Redrought as a boy just before he settled into the throne of the Icemark. And then when he was finally forced to become King after his brother was killed, I wanted to show him growing into the job.

I actually based part of Redrought’s character on every awkward, stumbling and shy teenage boy I’ve ever known – including me! As a grown-up he was a like a cross between a friendly Viking and a grizzly bear; the type of bear that would deliberately break wind loudly in quiet exam rooms or tell vicars dirty jokes and then roar with laughter, not noticing the silence that had settled around him. But as a boy he was very different. He’d blush if a girl so much as looked at him, and he’d definitely fall over his own feet if he had to do something terrifying like actually go for a walk with one of the strange creatures that he found so fascinating.

Stuart HillI also wanted to go back and tell the stories of some my other favourite characters, especially the Vampire King and Queen. I absolutely loved writing about them; I particularly enjoyed their snobbery, their refined manners and their sarcasm – and all of that, coupled with their ferocity, made me think of some of my old teachers (not all of them – I had some great teachers). I could just imagine His Vampiric Majesty as an old-style headmaster who’d sweep through the corridors in a long gown, on the hunt for prey or for any pupil who’d forgotten their homework! And Her Vampiric Majesty would just have to be a maths teacher … precise, professional, petrifying!

I think there are more stories to be told involving the young King Redrought, his fighting, farting cat Cadwalader, and his future wife Athena, the warrior princess of the mighty Hypolitan. Perhaps one day, I’ll tell them.

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Teen Librarian and the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards

Those readers who also follow me on twitter or know me in real life will be aware that for the next two years I will be a Judge for the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards.

The effects of the CKG Awards have been slowly creeping in to the way I have been running Teen Librarian. I have been reading as many of the potential nominations as I could so that when the list of nominated titles is revealed I would not have an almost insurmountable task in getting through all of them. I have not felt that it would be a good idea to review the books I have read over the past year as it may create a conflict of interest if my views on them are made known and they are nominated.

My reviews will cease entirely from now as I will have no time to read anything other than the nominated titles, the list of titles will become public next week.

The voices of past judges has become a Greek chorus in my mind, collectively and individually they have all said the same thing: Life as you knew it is over! All your free time will be taken up with reading the nominations, you don’t really need eight hours of sleep a night and say goodbye to your friends and significant other…

The list of things in life that will be set aside because of the awards does go on a bit, but those were the salient points.

I know that I am not the most prolific of posters in the library & book blogging worlds but I may become even quieter. I will not be posting on any of the authors and titles nominated, or about any of the meetings relating to the Awards. I will keep posting ideas and items of interest as I usually do and if anyone reading this would like to become involved with writing articles or reviews for Teen Librarian please do let me know.

I will also not be able to answer any questions relating to views on the nominated titles or authors, or about the awards process or my fellow judges. I will be happy to talk about the importance of the Awards, the criteria and any general questions people may have. I may even write posts about those subjects in case.

Young Adult Literature Con 2014

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Well this week the YA literary blogosphere has been afire with people raving about the Young Adult Literary Convention that took place this past weekend under the wings of the London Film & Comic Con.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with conventions – I love meeting authors & actors seeing friends in the audience and among the people displaying their wares and seeing the cosplayers BUT I really do not enjoy massive crowds of people, in the past my con of choice has been the MCM Expo in Docklands, followed closely by the LFCC but as con culture has grown in the UK so have the crowds and navigating my way through packed gang-ways makes my want to run away screaming. My past survival technique have always been to get in early, see as much as I can and get out before it gets unmanageable.

You want to know something cool? – I was at YALC on the Sunday and it was utterly magnificent! I was fortunate enough to be invited to a blogger breakfast chat on Sunday morning. The brunch featured appearances by Holly Black, Matt Haig, Non Pratt and James Dawson who each gave a short introduction and promotion of their books followed by a meet & mingle with coffee, juice and croissants.

ezgif.com-resizeJames Dawson being crowned by Rosi Crawley with Non Pratt, Matt Haig & Holly Black seated from left to right next to them

My personal highlights of YALC 2014 (in no particular order) were:

Catching up with wonderful human beings Non Pratt and His Majesty James Dawson the new Queen of Teen
Meeting Matt Haig and chatting about the importance of libraries, reading and the differences between school and public libraries
Seeing (and speaking to) Jim and Darren who were (I think) the only two other male bloggers at the blogger brunch
Speaking to Nina, Rosi & Harriet in person for a change rather than being at the other end of an e-mail
Giving my Ruin & Rising tote bag to a passing teen who had a total fan-girl meltdown when she saw it (she told me she was looking forward to reading book 3 so much and loved my bag and did I know if she could get one if there were any more left)
Meeting the Chapter 5 team (who are also the amazing Hodderscape team) and having a mutual admiration chat – they recognized me because I borrowed their table sign for a Lego Han Solo pic
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Chatting to the Hot Key Books team, getting a hug from Sara O’Connor and a proof of Clariel thus earning my love and dedication for life.
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Finding the 2000AD stand, speaking to Lydia Gittens and discovering that they have a YA imprint called Ravenstone
Being surrounded by my people the book fans, people that geek out when meeting authors and receiving signed books
Catching up with my friends Doctor Manhattan and Zuul (aka Shaun & Jackie)
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Things that I did not do that I really wanted to:
Attend the opening on the first day
Speak to Holly Black – no idea how this did not happen, we were in the same area for ages!
Get a seat at any of the talks – I hung around the back and listened to some but I was too hot and dressed inappropriately to get comfortable
Find any number of friends, authors and associates that I knew were there but did not seem able to locate

What I will do next year:
Book early entry tickets way in advance then arrive early to make sure there is none of that hanging around for hours in a queue to buy tickets
Take at least two water bottles
Wear light and airy clothes
Arrange to go in with a group of friends for mutual defence and protection
Be aware what* is happening, where and at what times
*panels, workshops & author signings

The most important thing anyone can do is support the YALC organisers and agitate for it to become an annual occurrence, this was the first one and it was amazing, I truly believe that next year will be even more spectacular and will do what I can to make sure it happens!

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Loving Books

This piece has been inspired by a conversation I have had with @Crusaderofchaos on Twitter. You can read it here

I love books, I always have and I collect them (hoard them as my dear lady wife says) and if I had the space I would have a room dedicated as my personal library. I would have one already but in life one must compromise and a multi-purpose room that is useful and used is currently more necessary than a private library (I hold the view that a library is necessary and useful thing to have but I wait for the day when we have space to allow that without massive arguments and upset).

Being a keeper of books I have a rule about my collection that I am less than flexible about: I will NOT lend you my books!

I have two exceptions to that rule – both of them friends that I have known for years, they hold to the views that you do not crease or break the spine when reading, do not dog-earing the pages, you do not eat while reading or leave the book open face-down on the spot that they stopped reading. They love books like I love them – with respect and care.

I know people (both friends and family) who love books by reading them with abandon and so often that they need to patch them together with tape. Books that they have had for so long and read so often that the books flop open at favourite pages and for them that is the greatest sign of respect one can have for a book.

You know what – they are not wrong!

I believe in sharing books and stories, I am a librarian for Pete’s sake! But my collection of books is mine – I have books I keep because they are beautiful, wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable!

They look good and I want to keep them that way.

My way is not wrong either.

I am not alone in the keeping personal books in perfect condition habit and I am sure that they know people who are bemused by that – as do I.

To all those who love their books by keeping them as near to perfect condition as they are able; I am one of you.

For those of you that read books to pieces huzzah! I hope you never change, but please do not hold it against me if I do not loan you one of my collection for it may ruin our friendship and possibly my book as well.

I know there is no wrong way to love a book or books – there are many ways and I will not judge you if your way is different from mine.

All I ask is that you don’t judge me for mine!

Three Years a School Librarian

In all the excitement over the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards, coming to the end of another school year and the Football World Cup I overlooked the fact that this June is my third anniversary as a School Librarian.

For the eight years prior to this momentous month three years ago I had been (mostly) a Teen & Youth Services Librarian, with a bit of Reference, Adult Services and team management thrown in for good measure. Then the public services cuts started, at this point I was in Brent, a borough that cut its already tightly run library service into the bone. I was the first casualty in Brent and one of the first librarians in London to get the chop, the only upside to being at the front of the line was I could see what was coming and had six months to scramble for a new job before the axe came down.

I interviewed for 12 positions in six months and did well but not well enough in most.

It was in the final interview I went to that got me the call-back to run a library lesson on Anne Frank and biographies which went brilliantly until I turned round and realised that the computer that was running the powerpoint display I was using had downloaded an update and rebooted itself, it was Windows Vista so took about 20 minutes to sort itself out. I had decided not to wait for the reboot went on with the lesson using and got the kids to look at specific titles.

I left, convinced that I had blown it and cursed Microsoft products under my breath.

The lesson was a week before my post in Brent came to an end and I felt the breath of doom on my neck. My last day of work was on a Monday and on the Tuesday morning I was unemployed. I received a phone-call around midday on the Tuesday offering the post of School Librarian.

Three years later I am still here!

I have restocked the library, discarded ancient and unsuitable stock, physically removed broken bookshelves, organised about 25 author visits, gotten to know an entire schools worth of students (& staff), participated in two pantomimes and run an ongoing series of weekly lessons for years 7, 8 & 9 as well as all the other things that happen in a library but are usually handled by other teams.

I have learned a lot – how to survive being a solo practitioner, partnership working with school departments and new (to me) outside agencies.

One thing I did not have to do was learning this alone! There is a brilliant School Librarians Network who helped me and continue to do so and Librarians are some of the most avid & helpful Twitter users that I know and they guided me through the early stages of my new career path.

This summer my library is receiving a comprehensive refurbishment from the ground up – carpet, chairs, tables, a new coat of paint and an enhanced IT offer (five new computers).

I am looking forward to my fourth year and have started working on new educational resources to use in the new school year.
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Hello Darkness My Old Friend: is the Carnegie Medal becoming too Bleak?

There is a growing sense of disquiet among spectators of the CILIP Carnegie& Kate Greenaway Awards that the Carnegie has a growing darkness in its heart. There is the possibility that the judges vie to find a book that was darker than previous titles and have the author crowned as the next recipient of the award.

Each year after the winners have been announced there has been a vocal group of observers that shout that some of the titles are not suitable for younger readers, the subject matters are too dark for children to understand.

We are living in a golden age of publishing for young readers, the volume of quality titles that are published each year is still growing and the number of titles nominated for the award grows apace.

Authors are not content to write about safe subjects and retread ground that writers before them have covered, they may retell or reimagine old stories but often update them (in style if not content) and give them relevance to a modern audience.

Writing for slightly older audience gives writers more freedom in tackling contentious issues that they would have difficulty with if they were writing for younger readers.

I feel that the accusations that the winning titles are too bleak for younger readers are specious. Books are perfect for tabling discussions about what is happening in the world today. Children and adults enter schools with guns and innocents die, often for reasons that make little or no sense. Violence, war and death are routinely shown on news programmes; young girls are kidnapped or murdered for the crime of wanting an education.

Straying into fiction, EastEnders has shown murder, rape, kidnapping, arson and jaywalking although I think they do display the Samaritans number at the end of particular episodes for anyone who wanted to talk about what they have seen.

The veil of fiction can make it easier for readers to confront and discuss issues that affect them in real life. When talking to a parent, guardian, teacher or librarian about it is often easier to refer to pages that may have upset or confused a young reader than chatting about what they saw on the television or have experienced. Books can also help readers understand what others go through better than watching a film or television show.

I do not believe that children need to be cosseted or protected from the big bad world, the argument has already been made about children self-censoring anything they feel they are not ready for.

Is The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks bleak and unremitting? Yes it is. Does it tie everything up in a neat dénouement at the end? No it does not. Is it suitable for each and every reader that may pick it up? Maybe not but that is for the reader to decide!

Have previous titles that were selected been bleak, dark and troubled? Yes they have but the subject is almost irrelevant as the main point when considering a title for the Carnegie is:

The book that wins the Carnegie Medal should be a book of outstanding literary quality. The whole work should provide pleasure, not merely from the surface enjoyment of a good read, but also the deeper subconscious satisfaction of having gone through a vicarious, but at the time of reading, a real experience that is retained afterwards.

There have been years where no winner has been chosen as the criteria against which the books are measured are so strict.

The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children and the judges choice on the matter is final. People will always disagree this is what makes for such rousing discussions about the shortlisted titles and winners but to accuse the judges of spiralling down to ever darker and nastier titles can be dismissed immediately.

A few years ago there was the accusation that only ‘worthy’ literary titles were chosen instead of more populist books.
When it comes to the Carnegie there is no pattern, judges cannot refuse a book just because a similar title or author won the previous year. The winning title is one that best matches the criteria which are freely available to view here:
http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie/award_criteria.php

The joy of reading is that you are free to read any book you want and put it down if it does not appeal. Not every story will fit every reader; there is diversity in choice and that is what makes it so wonderful!

Moths are drawn to the light and young minds can be attracted to the darkness in some books, but if they find it too dark they can choose to close the covers and move on to another title.

I do not believe that the awards are becoming too dark, the judges change every two years and new blood brings with it a fresh perspective and opinion on what the best book for a particular year is.

The darkness in fiction can be dispelled by closing the covers and waiting until you are ready to face it.

Some Thoughts on the Winners of the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards

The Kate Greenaway Award goes to This is Not My Hat illustrated and written by Jon Klassen and the Carnegie Award goes to The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks.

ThisIsNotMyHat_thumbThe Bunker Diary
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This is Not My Hat was my favourite to win from the moment I read it – even before it was nominated. In all honesty I thought the same about I Want My Hat Back. The other short-listed titles were also brilliant but TINMH had my heart and support from the beginning!

The Carnegie Award winner was harder to call and I could not pick a favourite from the short-listed titles. The Bunker Diary is a worthy winner and a brave choice by the judges. In recent years the Carnegie Award has faced criticism over the dark stories that have been nominated and selected as winners and I am sure that this year will be no different. The Bunker Diary is dark, brilliant and probably not suitable for younger readers but it is an excellent choice!

I am looking forward to and also slightly terrified by the CKG Awards next year as I will be sitting on the judging panel and will have a hand in choosing the shortlists and winning titles. Over the years I have been involved in a number of discussions both online and in the real world about the awards and have always been a firm believer in the importance of the awards and now next year I will become part of the process.

I Predict a Riot Blog Tour: Why teaching makes me a better writer by Catherine Bruton

iparWhen I was thirteen and subsisting on a literary diet of ballet books, pony stories and Jackie Collins, my English teacher, Mr Scott, handed me a copy of The Outsiders by S E Hinton.

I felt as if a lightbulb had been turned on in my head: the world suddenly looked brighter, bolder, brasher, more complicated – more brilliant than before.

Now, it’s probably time to confess that I live a secret double life! I’m actually an undercover Hannah Montana (or my hubby might say Jekyll and Hyde!) Some days I’m Mrs Bruton, teaching English to teenagers in a local secondary school; others I’m an author writing hilarious but heartbreaking contemporary crossover fiction! Some days I get to be both at once – which can get a little complicated!

As a teacher, I have the great privilege to introduce young people to some of those ‘lightbulb’ books – the stories that open their eyes, enlarge their sympathies, expand their horizons, enrich their lives, rock their world and leave a fossil print on their souls.

And as an author those are the books I aspire to write: the lightbulb books. Which is why I don’t shy away from controversial topics. My first book, We Can be Heroes explores 9/11, suicide bombers, and Islamophobisa in my 21st Century take on To Kill a Mockingbird (via Alex Rider, Manga and Strawberry Laces!). It was nominated for the Carnegie and described by The Sunday Times as ‘witty, wise and compelling’ (which I may have engraved on my tombstone!.

After my second book, Pop! I was described by the The Guardian as ‘One of the finest teen writers of recent years.’ (Can we fit that on the headstone too?) It is Billy Elliot meets The X Factor via Shameless and it explores strikes, recession and the X Factor phenomenon – broken home and parental neglect via Simon Cowell and David Walliams.

caronfireAnd in I Predict a Riot I focus on the UK riots of 2011 with the story of three kids from very different backgrounds who set out to make a movie and end up involved in a riot in a summer that will change their lives forever.

And the thing is that I am constantly inspired by the many amazing kids I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years: teenage gang members from South London; street kids in South Africa; as well as the children of politicians and pop stars. Their stories, their voices inspire what I write, but also remind me of the responsibility I have when I write.

I first conceived the idea for I Predict a Riot when I was living in Peckham, teaching in a top independent girls’ school and helping out in a youth group with kids from some of the most deprived estates in London. That was where I conceived my the three main characters – Maggie, the white middle class politician’s daughter dealing with her parents’ divorce by hiding behind the lens of a video camera; Tokes the son of a notorious gang member who is running from trouble; and Little Pea, the kid who everyone has given up on – abused by his mum, neglected by society and pushed around by the ruthless Starfish Gang, he is devious, immoral, funny, clever, lawless, brave, maddening, tragic and ultimately heroic.

caronfire2Little Pea is my Artful Dodger. Inspired by many kids but particularly a boy called C, the naughtiest boy in my first ever class in Africa when I was just 21. Looking back, I suspect he had ADHD; he used to boast that his mum had sent him to the witchdoctor to have the devil driven out of him (something I also encountered years later in South London, incidentally). He couldn’t sit still and he drove me insane. One day, at my wits end, I sent him to the headmaster, not realizing he would be caned. Of all the mistakes I have made as a teacher, that is the one I am most ashamed of.

So, Maggie is me, I suppose. The white middle class outsider. Naïve and flawed, ultimately compromised by her role in the death of her friend. She’s every ‘poor little rich kid’ I’ve ever taught – materially rich but emotionally neglected – and believe me there are far too many of those.

policeenfieldFor Tokes I drew on the very best of every young person I have ever taught. He is a symbol of my belief in the potential for good in every kid; my belief that all children – no matter what their background – with the right support, the right help – one teacher who says, ‘I believe in you,’ or a parent who fights for them – can come good, have a second chance – be a hero.

So I had my three characters, but I didn’t really have a story until a few years later when I turned on the TV and saw Peckham on fire: kids as young as ten running wild and lawless, gleefully looting, smashing, destroying their own neighbourhood. I knew right away that I had found my story and it wouldn’t let me have any peace until I’d told it.

policeenfield1Ultimately it was my current pupils who determined the story I wrote. We were studying Lord of the Flies and, struck by the parallels with the recent riots, I asked them whether there were any circumstances under which they could have seen themselves getting drawn into the rioting. The discussion that followed was formative in shaping the book I wrote.

And so I Predict a Riot became my Lord of the Flies – but mixed with Made in Chelsea and Meg Rosoff; Top Boy and The Tempest; Pigeon English and Charles Dickens; The Knife that Killed Me and Son of Rambow; The Outsiders and The Only Way is Essex.

In the end I set out to write a book to make my students ask questions, challenge stereotypes, to flip assumptions about class and race on their heads … make them laugh, make them cry … break their hearts … make them angry … make them think! Switch lightbulbs on in their heads.

But I guess it’s not just for them. The Evening Standard observed that my books are ‘aimed at young people but beautifully written and sophisticated enough to appeal to grey haired cynics too.’ The thing is that I firmly believe young readers are more sophisticated, more open-minded and more receptive than their wrinkly older counterparts.

So, yes, I Predict a Riot is aimed at teens but I hope everyone parents, grandparents even, will enjoy it too!
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I took the photographs in Enfield Town on Sunday 7th August after the police came out in force to break up the riots, a number of rioters escaped the police blockade into the side and back streets where several cars were torched. – Matt

Beyond the Door by Maureen McQuerry Blog Tour

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What have I learned about the world from myth as a writer and a reader? Since writing Beyond the Door and The Peculiars I’ve been thinking about why myth matters. Over the next week I’ll be blogging in the U.S and U.K. about six things I’ve learned from mythic stories that have inspired me. Plus there will be fun giveaways and a post by cover artist Victo Ngai! Follow the thread…

What I’ve Learned from Myth Part 1 (with a little help from Mr. Tolkien)

The World is not a Safe Place
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Fellowship of the Ring
Go down any road in myth and you are likely to encounter…dark woods with no way out, labyrinths with monsters at the center, fairy mounds thick with enchantment, shapeshifters and on wind torn nights, the Wild Hunt. The mythic world is not a tame place. Don’t we know this already? And yet our culture tells us logic will prevail. If we do x, then y will follow. Myth reminds us that the world can be as wild and unpredictable as “an old wives’ tale,” at one moment full of heartbreaking joy and the next as dark as dragon’s lair. Myth never denies the existence of evil. Evil is real, horrific and evil is never good. To dismiss evil easily, is to diminish goodness. The unpredictable and fantastic are just around the corner. We are separated from the impossible by the thinnest of veils.

There is No Easy Way Out of the Maze
When Theseus finds his way to the heart of the maze, he must battle the Minotaur. When Hansel & Gretel get lost in the woods, the birds eat their breadcrumbs. Struggle and conflict will always be part of the journey. We shouldn’t be surprised when the dragons sweep in. In fact, dragons are essential because struggle and conflict, change us, create our arc. Every story is propelled by conflict. Readers want conflict and tension. Myth reminds us that conflict and tension are part of a full life and help make us who we are.
“Do we really have to go through [Mirkwod]?” groaned the hobbit. “Yes, you do!” said the wizard, “if you want to get to the other side. You must either go through or give up your quest. There are no safe paths in this part of the world.” The Hobbit

We Fear the Wrong Things
When King Arthur created the round table, with his brilliant vision of right over might, he was prepared for the enemy without. He was undone by Mordred. Time and again we find the hero’s fatal flaw bringing about his downfall. Think of Achilles and his vulnerable heel. Our heel may be pride or greed or even the dailiness of life that consumes us. We fall in love with Selkies, who will always return to the sea. We fear risk and adventures and looking like fools when the greatest battles rage in our own hearts.
It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait. The Hobbit

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That’s it for today. Tomorrow 3 more lessons from myth for writers, for readers, for living at Making it Up Follow the thread…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Maureen Doyle McQuerry

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