Very briefly, we went to my sister's 5oth birthday party this weekend. It was tremendous fun, and a great chance for me to meet up again with one of my favourite people, Thomas, my nine-year old nephew. Thomas is a great kid, and has started writing - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, diary, anything really, he just loves it.
In consultation with my older brother, Thomas' dad, we set Thomas up with an e-mail account so that me and him(or he and I) can swap stories, writing ideas and discuss writing generally. It is very exciting, and I am very keen to help encourage the lad, although I realize that as soon as he becomes a teenager he will turn into a sullen, uncommunicative monster. In the meantime though, I have about four years to encourage, cajole and steal ideas from this bright kid.
Our first item for discussion has been the continents (by the way, I asked Thomas if it was ok that I write this about our conversations and he ok'd this report although he said I'd have to ask him about future conversations we have), and whether writing that includes pictures is valid or not . Thomas is of the opinion that the work should stand on it's own, an opinion that we've already had some vigorous debate over. I'm not patronising the lad here, he is, without being precocious, or precious, an interesting, engaging conversationalist.
These are exciting times. The house is going full tilt. I'm in the middle of an adult sci-fi novella, that Joey Mac and I sporadically work on, and now I'm working, with Thomas on some ideas and concepts that only kids could generate (for example, I was telling him about human migration across the globe, and how the First Australians arrived about forty thousand years ago, when Thomas started asking questions about how the kids felt about these migrations, and did they take their toys, pets and friends, and did the kids have to work. The answers to these questions are fascinating, not least because humans forty thousand years ago were not just Modern Westerners with less stuff, they organised themselves very differently).