THOUGHTS ABOUT WRITING
HOW WRITING, THEATRE AND CALLIGRAPHY INFORM MY WORK
The ability to speak is innate and unique to humans. It is something that we've been doing for over 100,000 years, and is within the structure of our brains. As an actor, I learned about how we use our bodies to make the sounds that we call words, the sounds that we use to express ideas.
However, reading and writing are learned skills. In childhood, we heard sounds that represented ideas and then struggled to associate lines and shapes with those sounds. We learned how these lines could be put together to have meaning. As a calligrapher, I learned about the origins of these written forms, and the shapes of letters delights me as much as the reasons why those shapes have come into being.
My first book, Writing: A Fact & Fun Book, synthesized everything that I had learned about the visual language. This meant that I started writing by thinking about the building blocks that we all use in order to communicate ideas.
After writing that first book, I went on to write several craft books about lettering and book arts. I wanted to share my passion for the magic of writing and how ideas are expressed on the page.
When Tim Wynne-Jones and I wrote Rosie Backstage, I drew on my love of acting and the effect of the sounds of words. Tim and I both share a passion for the magic of theatre, and how ideas are expressed on the stage.
Woven through all of my work is a respect for the wisdom and integrity of children and youth. Childhood and adolescence are times of discovery and exploration. In my novels, I am trying to reflect some of the struggles of adolescence. These days, especially, we know that young people are emerging into a complex society. They are grappling with contradictory and sometimes frightening concepts. I hope I am able to provide a context for my readers to explore difficult questions about the larger world around us. The world that they will make their own.