[DWJ] Writing for the young (was Dumbledore vs. Snape)

Mark Allums mark at allums.com
Mon May 14 20:52:28 EDT 2007

Minnow wrote:

This is a great list!

> And I now wonder:
> Have I posted the "10 reasons I write for children" that DWJ keeps on her
> study door?  They are a quotation she feels worth remembering.
> 1] Children read books, not reviews.  They don't give a hoot about the critics.


> 2] Children don't read to find their identity.


> 3] They don't read to free themselves of guilt, to quench their thirst for
> rebellion, or to get rid of alienation.

Well, when I was young, I rebelliously read some of Darwin.

> 4] They have no use for psychology.

Hallelujah!  Oh, sorry,  Meaning no offense to the psych majors on the 

> 5] They detest sociology.

See [4].

> 6] They don't try to understand Kafka or Finnegan's Wake.

Or Ulysses, or [very long list] or Ezekial, or [longer list] or

> 7] They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins,
> logic, clarity, punctuation and other such obsolete stuff.
> 8] They love interesting stories, not commentary, guides or footnotes.
> 9] When a book is boring, they yawn openly, without any shame or fear of
> authority.
> 10] They don't expect their beloved writer to redeem humanity.  Young as
> they are, they know it is not in his power.  Only adults have such childish
> illusions.
> The explanation that goes with this in small letters at the bottom is:
> "There are five hundred reasons why I began to write for children, but to
> save time I will mention only ten of them."
> [This statement, originally prepared by Mr. Singer for the
> occasion of his acceptance of the National Book Award in
> 1970 for A Day of Pleasure:Stories of a Boy Growing Up in
> Warsaw, was read to the assembled guests of the Nobel Prize
> banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm on December 10, 1978.
> Reprinted in Nobel Lecture, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Farrar,
> Straus -& Giroux, 1978.]
>> I feel compelled to add that as far as the Harry Potter debates goes, I
>> fall into the "I read some of them and don't care two figs what happens or
>> whether people love them or hate them" category.  But I would like to say
>> thank you to Mark for turning this into a discussion, because it's making
>> for fascinating reading during my study breaks.  I also like that so far
>> everyone is being very polite about what I'm sure are extremely hot
>> issues.
> It's jolly easy to be polite from a position of indifference based in
> almost complete ignorance.  --Which is where I stand on this topic!
>> EGH, delurking from taking grueling final exams
> Good luck!
> Minnow
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