Friday, 13 September 2013

Why Books Are My Bag

The simplest of messages are always the most savvy - and most memorable!  Here's one for you all - if you love books, get down to your local bookstore, and show them some big gooey Michelin-Man-sized love!

I could walk you through my childhood memories of picture books, tell you how books were my friends from an early age, tell you about hours spent under the willow tree in my parents garden, with my head buried in a book.  I could recite the Shakespeare etched on teen-angst ridden grey cells, and jolly on about all the wonderful books that have kept me going long into adulthood.  I could tell you about all those amazing stories that still keep me up at night - the ones that make me laugh like an insane lady one minute, and turn me into a bedridden weeping baby, the next.  But, I'm sure your own book memories are so much better.

The sad truth is, we are losing bookstores everyday.  According to an article in the Guardian earlier this year, "73 Independent booksellers shut up shop in 2012 - more than one casualty for every week of the year - bringing the number left in the UK down to just 1,028."  

The reality is that if we love our bookstores as much as we keep saying - we need to put our money where our mouth is.  And, while online megastores may well fill our internet landscapes at every turn, it would be a tragedy to see bookstores and libraries go the way of dinosaurs.  Books are so much more than a quick buck at the click of a mouse.  They are much, much more.  There's a connection - books, people, stories and storytellers, we all belong together.  We all make memories together.

Tomorrow, the 'Books Are My Bag' campaign  celebrates books and bookstores with a big book party!  Yes, Britain and Ireland, that means you.  However, lets not just stop here - where ever you live,  the Ukraine, Japan, Alaska or even, I don't know, the Falklands?  It doesn't matter, you remember that Ice Age thing, right?  Yes.  Well, it's not too late - you can still show your love for books.  Lets keep our bookstores open for future generations.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Flying Solo

It was early saturday morning, that magical moment before sunrise and coffee, where time zones are murky and the neighbourhood dogs haven't quite stirred.  I was sitting at my desk and somewhere in the background, pieces of a rather insane conversation filtered through the fog.  My ears pricked, I leaned in.  Scribe Junior had his Grandmother C on the phone.  All the way from little NZ.

SJ:  Grandma, guess what?
G:   What?
SJ:  I found you a new boyfriend!
G:  *a little too excited*  Really?  Who?
SJ:  *picks up his iPad, taps on screen*  Actually, I'm downloading him now!
G:  What?
SJ:  He's from Pakistan.
G: Oh.
SJ:  Actually, he lives in Bangalore but he's from Tajikistan!
G: Oh.

I laughed. Quite hard.  Later that day, at Hampstead Heath, we picnicked with a few girlfriends, and SJ was in full swing.  He'd decided to download boyfriends for everyone.  The only problem was, all boyfriends appeared to be inanimate objects.  For example, V was paired off with a storage room; N was pointed towards a small stone building in the park.  I mean, it was a lovely building but being discerning creatures, we questioned why anyone would want an empty room for a boyfriend?

SJ:  Well because, if you get tired, you don't have to go far, you can just sleep in the room -won't that be good?
All the the single ladies:  Um, no -actually, not good - what if you want a cuddle?  You can't cuddle a storage room.
SJ:  But you can put a nice chair in there, - and a TV.
All the single ladies:  I think you need to work on that one.

Last night, SJ proudly handed me a small drawing.

SJ:  Here you go, Mummy!
Me:  What's that?
SJ:  I 'downloaded' you a boyfriend!
Me:  *stares at stick figure on flapping piece of A4*  Wow.
SJ:  His name is Jack Jay.
Me:  Cool.  I'm going to pin him up in the kitchen, on the noticeboard.
SJ: That's good!  And, you can talk to him whenever you want to, like when you're working in there.
Me:  Like, when I'm doing the dishes and stuff?
SJ:  Yes.
Me:  That's just...perfect.

Jack Jay -the quiet unassuming type

I give you Jack Jay.  He sits, pride of place on the noticeboard.  I'm looking forward to romantic walks in the park with him this autumn.

PS: The joys of single motherhood.  Nobody said it would be easy but when your child has a wild imagination, and is wise beyond his years? Well - the days just fly by.  I hope you're all enjoying the last of the summer weather!  I am.  -Talei XO