I am working on a novel for adults (no, not that kind of adult novel…just calm yourself) but my ‘day’ job involves writing for a much different population: pre-schoolers. This means that, not only have I listened to the Dora theme song more times than anyone over the age of 5 should, but, also, that I have a big transition to make on a daily basis. From phrases like: ‘Elmo loves you!’ and ‘Wanna play Kickety Kickball?’ to, ya know, ideas that are, like, intelligent and grammatically correct and stuff.
It got me thinking a little bit about what that means. Having to jump around from looking at the world through the eyes of a 3 year old to really expressing my thoughts and observations about the world around us and translating that into a story that people would like to read.
And then I started to wonder if they were any different. If the things that stuck with us when we were five are the same things we’re really brooding over now. But maybe there was a little more joy in it back then.
My favorite story when I was a kid was ‘The Secret Garden’. My mother took me to see a rendition of it at a children’s theater and some years later, I read the book and adored it. Many years later, when I studied abroad in London, my friend Lynn and I saw the musical version three times after discovering that it would only cost around 5 pounds a show. And, if you were to ask me about the story now, I could go on for quite some time about how genius I really think it is. (Feel free…)
So, I’m thinking the transition is not such a huge stretch. The way I saw things then is not very different from how I see things now (which is kind of scary). I guess I’m just better equipped to explore the themes that I find fascinating. But, in old age, we’re also forced to question them- which is a double edged sword.
But I guess I shouldn’t worry so much, because Elmo Loves me. Dude, he does. For real. He told me so.