I try to be a good influence.
I try not to let on, especially to the children in my life (godchildren, niece, nephew, cousins), that I am a terrible role model. Imagine my surprise when last weekend I was presented with my godson Toby’s first story, which is to be published in a collection. He insisted on reading it to me. I wish I could recreate the passion with which he read it back to me. He’s a true performer and a true artist.
One day, there was a jungle. It was deep, dark and scary, but when it was day, it was a beautiful jungle.
“Huh, what’s this? Is it a snake?” said the jungle explorer. The snake was a little snake.
But one day, there was a lion. It saw a snake. Oh no, it was that snake! That green one. The lion bit the green, pretty snake on the tail and what happened? The snake chased the lion into a large, scary snake. Was it a cobra? Yes it was! It had venom and it squirted the venom on the lion. But, oh my gosh, the lion did not die. The lion was terrified, but how lucky he was not to die. The next day, he was very tired so he ran away from the snake. He was now very happy. Now he would hunt for something else for his dinner, maybe a rhino and a giraffe.
So he set off and soon he was back in the jungle. He caught two buffalo, five giraffes, seven rhinos and one elephant. He was so full and so tired, so he ran so fast home that he nearly exploded.
I have so many questions but I didn’t want the artist to dissect his work too much. We can all take from it whatever we choose.
How incredible it is, that in 2018, immersed in a world of Pokemon Go, Nintendo Switch, Panini football stickers, maths homework, the goodie cupboard, fighting with his siblings and convincing me that his parents let him do the thing he is trying to do while I’m babysitting, Toby (aged 7) is interested in writing. I have never let him read anything I’ve written (because he’s at least a decade too young) but it is good to see that in some way, he has absorbed some of Uncle Paul’s positivity.