“What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.”
What might this quote from Sigmund Freud mean to us as children’s writers? Do we stoke the already radiant intelligence until it is white hot? And how do we do this with our feeble intelligence? Do fantasy writers have a greater responsibility than, say, picture book writers? And what about YA — is the teenager already well on his way to feeble mentality and how can ‘Stoner & Spaz’ or ‘Wednesday Wars’ delay that?
Is there a chance that kids get tired of radiating and just want to sit down with a good book? As a feeble adult, I sure do.
How about those of us who write funny books. How can that contribute to radiance?
And if a child’s intelligence is so radiant, can it be etiolated by chatty critters with nothing to say or locomotives spouting feel good homilies?
I just have the questions, friends. I leave the answers to you.
No answers this morning. But I do think that kids have such limitless curiosity radiating through them. And that feeds me, the feeble adult. I am trying to keep my own curiosity alive in my writing.
But let's not romanticize children like good old Sigmund. Kids' curiosity has limits. If you heard my daughters' standard response to the suggestion that they go out in Nature, you'd think they'd been asked instead if they want to be strangled with their ipod chargers. In my cranky, despairing moments, I think, bring on the preachy trains and vapid skunks and squirrels! It's all the feeble-minded ingrates deserve!
Really, don't write well for them. Who knows if they'll appreciate it? Write to your own high standards.
Okay. Okay. Point well made. Write well. That says it.
Kids-schmids, I say.
Kids are just like other people. You like some, you don't like others. Some are insightful and others are not. Some are mean and some are nice. Just like dogs, too for that matter.
Some smell bad, others don't. Some pee on your shoes, eat grass, roll in dead animals, others …