Within us all there lurks a child. That child has a sense of wonder. It believes in magic and dreams of the stars. That child is free until the age of around five. Then it starts a process called education. Gradually its dreams are shrunk by something called reality. It learns to conform and to follow other people’s rules. It gives up on what it really wants. It no longer believes in the impossible. It settles for second or even third or fourth best. The dreams within and the sense of wonder start to die.
By the time the child reaches adulthood, the modern world and the pressures of life never again allow that child within to breathe except in a few cases or for very brief moments.
These stories were originally conceived but never started by my second wife who died tragically at the age of only 46 in 2000. My wife Carmen never managed to free the child within but she inspired me. The title of these stories was inspired by the beautiful, smelly, dopey, drooling, wise dog we shared until he too died prematurely also in 2000. Bertie was a bloodhound. Have you ever considered how the animal kingdom views us, the crazy way we live, the way we think, the way we are?
I wrote the first story in 2004. Several more followed quickly. In 2007 I read a book called Busters Diaries by the politician Roy Hattersley. Clearly the same source of inspiration had touched Roy in a different way to me. The book, a diary from the point of view of Roy’s dog Buster was a best seller. I loved it!
I believe that a dream takes time to unfold, that Rome is not built in a day. That the path of instant gratification leads ultimately nowhere- to disappointment, disillusion and emptiness deep within our souls. That a constant diet of deals, special offers and sales devalue what we buy. That in the world we live we are brainwashed to believe that it is the price of everything that matters. So the magic of saving up for what we cannot quite afford, the excitement of waiting as we had to do as children, the specialness of everything inspiring is destroyed, demeaned. It took me 22 years to be able to afford to buy a new Steinway Concert Grand Piano because it would never be available in a sale or at two for the price of one. I had to dream, aspire to earn the money and do the work to one day maybe, have the money to buy one for myself.
I believe the messages in my stories have reached a time when they will reach and touch many people. So my stories have taken until 2016 to develop and mature like a fine wine because now I think that the messages within will resonate to many people across the age and political spectrum everywhere.
People who are tired of being told what to think and believe, what they should wear, what they should listen to, what they should do with their lives. Who are tired of fashion and advertising, politics and politicians. Who are sick of the tripe on television but no longer know how to find the off button because you need a degree to understand the remote control. People who are sick of the diet of garbage from which it is, today, almost impossible to escape and which infects our children from every direction like a virus. Who want music to once again inflame them like it did in the heyday of The Beatles, the 1960’s. Who yearn to play as they did as children but no longer know how to do it.
Books are special. Really good ones will be handed down through families.
When I was a small child my Mother read me stories. Aesop’s Fables, Grimm Fairy Stories, Jock Of The Bushveld, Greek mythology, tales of King Arthur and the Knights Of The Round Table, The Nonsense Stories of Edward Lear, the amazing stories of Rudyard Kipling. The wisdom within these stories, the ageless timeless wisdom within was not understood by me at the time. However, I laughed at and was moved by the stories. They fuelled my imagination precisely because they were not littered with stupid, brightly coloured, babyish, pictures. Because they were written with a simple clarity. They gave me a love of the book, of holding it and treasuring it. What was planted in my unconscious kept my dreams and the sense of wonder alive. They made me believe the impossible was possible.
We have currently lost something special that should be a part of all our childhoods. It has been lost to television and to instant gratification. So I want to bring it back. To reawaken the child within. To put back the love, compassion and sense of fun. I want us to start reading to our children again, to reawaken the love that is deep within all our hearts. I want to create stories that will be loved by children precisely because like Grimm’s fairy stories they are not completely safe. They have not been sanitised by political correctness. I want to create stories that we can reconnect with in those dark moments in adulthood when the world seems a lonely and frightening place. I want the child within to breathe again, to laugh and cry again in the utterly spontaneous way we did as children.
I want teenagers to read these stories to their boy or girlfriends. I want husbands to read to their wives in bed and wives to do the same to their husbands. I want people to laugh at the absurdities of the modern world. I want families to turn off the television and read these stories to each other on cold winter evenings when my Mother would read stories to me in our freezing, drafty house by candle light because the electricity had been turned off because she couldn’t afford the bill, while she was going through the pain of divorce. I want us to laugh again at ourselves not LOL in stupid text speak at what is often not, objectively, very funny at all.
I want us all to reawaken the raw, pure emotions we felt as children and so start to reconnect with each other again as adults. Then maybe we will again realise how special is the place on which we are privileged to live and that it is up to every one of us to do far more to save it from the one species that currently does not belong here, that disturbs its natural balance. Us!