Friday 13 September 2013

Happy Roald Dahl Day - Guest Post by Laura Dockrill

As a teacher I obviously don't have favourite students (because that would be very bad indeed). I hope that rule doesn't apply to bloggers because if it does then I'm guilty as hell. I've met a good few authors since I started blogging, and I have to confess that I do indeed have a favourite, and that is the gloriumptious Laura Dockrill. If you have not yet been to one of Laura's events then you are a frothbungling human bean - Laura has visited my school twice in the last year and every time she has cast her magic spell over the audience and had them in the palm of her hand (she has also twice publicly stitched me up in front of the audience, but I've forgiven her for that). Seriously though, if Laura is appearing in a town near you get your backside along, take your kids, and their friends, and their friends' parents and their friends' parents' friends and their.... you will not regret it, I promise.

Knowing that Laura has a special place in her heart for the amazing Roald Dahl I asked her if she would be interested in writing a short piece for The Book Zone to help me commemorate Roald Dahl Day today. And naturally, Laura being the star that she is, she said yes, this despite her being busy writing, eventing and blogging for The Book Trust as their online writer in residence.

Over to Laura:

I speak about Roald Dahl everyday. I like to think he looks down on me from the clouds or wherever he resides these days and thinks, ‘ah, bless’ but he probably doesn’t. He is probably thinking, ‘Oh, honey, girlfriend, give it a bloody rest and shut up.’ Because I do sometimes need to shut up about it. But I cant.

I am a superfan.

Roald Dahl taught me to like books. Just like how David Bowie and The Beatles and The Spice Girls ALL taught me how to like music. You need that figure to guide you, to hold your hand, to nurture you and teach you and say ‘I think you’ll enjoy this.’ And you trust them. When I used to read Roald Dahl’s work I used to be fully transported to bliss. My brain would work like clockwork, cranking and moving and churning and creating and imagining the vision of every line of words I was reading. I never felt insulted, or patronized, or babied or challenged. I felt exactly right and natural, as if Dahl and I were working together, cooking a really excellent story up at the same time and pace. Yet at the same time, I also felt somehow compelled, exhilarated, enchanted and charged, waiting for the next unexpected route or diversion, ready for him to switch on the next unlikely candidate. That’s what I liked. Dahl wasn’t a newsreader writer, he wasn’t fair or just. He never stood back and let the horror unfold, he indulged in it.

Now. I read Dahl’s work and I am sick with jealousy. Sometimes I can trick my brain, because the stories are so captivating, and let myself be lulled by the wonder. But I’ll soon snap out of it and get sick again and have to give myself a small cuddle and think, one day. One day. You might manage to scratch the surface on this. One day. But today is still a day and not the one I’m after and I have no nails to scratch with… just yet. Besides, I quite like just being a superfan. Watching from afar, because without idols, there is nothing to dream for. And there is nothing worse than that.


Jumpsquiffling thanks to Laura for taking time out to write that for us. If you have not yet read her debut book for children, Darcy Burdock, then you need to go out and buy it right now. It's one of my favourite books of 2013 and I can't wait to read the sequel. although I'm going to have to as it isn't out until next year.

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