We don’t need any more children’s books about seasons changing or caterpillars turning into butterflies.
That was the gist of a blog post I read recently. And I think I get what this guy is saying—that children’s writers could try looking around for some new material. And I agree.
But I can’t help thinking that if you get jaded to the miracle of changing seasons or of earthbound worms sprouting wings, maybe you shouldn’t write for children. Maybe you shouldn’t write for anybody.
The cycle of the seasons and the metamorphosis of caterpillars both echo the theme of death and resurrection at the heart of the Master Story, the story at the root of all stories. Death and Resurrection are the climax of the mythic hero’s journey, as described by Christopher Vogler in The Writer’s Journey. Over and over we die to an old way of life--or an old way of thinking--and we are reborn into a new awareness, a new understanding.
May I never cease to be amazed by simple things. Like soap bubbles. Or dandelion fluff. Or spider webs. Or snow. May I never stop seeing the numinous in the ordinary. May I never forget that all beans are magic beans. Or in the words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Earth’s crammed with heaven and every common bush afire with God.”
So maybe we don’t need more original subject matter--just new ways of telling the “old, old story.” We need a fresh voice, a fresh slant, a fresh pair of eyes.
And now that I think about it, we need more books about seasons and butterflies. Lots more.
EPILOGUE: a question for my readers--both of you.
What simple, everyday things fill you with wonder and awe?