Sunday, 14 May 2017

A sort of encore, infringing the AE blog rules, by Dennis Hamley

Sorry about this, but what's gone before wasn't my last blog after all. Something else has occurred to me. which I think is worth saying. I made a flippant, throwaway remark about kids memorising fronted adverbials. That's a pretty inadequate thing to express what I believe to be the whole point of
a proper, though  now it seems forgotten or ignored, principle of education. Ask a lot and you will get a lot, as long as what you ask for increases insight s which will help you through as well as extending knowledge which you'll probably forget. The present model of education has the inevitable end of leaving untapped vast quantities of talent and achievement for all children.  I express this conviction with an example at the end of my author's note to Hawk's Vision, the very last words of the Hare trilogy.

Like most people, I suppose, my knowledge of falconry was derived from Kes by Barry Hines and TH White's The Goshawk. Needing more, I found a really super book, The History and Practice of Falconry by Allan Oswald (Neville Spearman 1982) and gave it to Eric to find out how to train a falcon and make a hood for it. I don't think the reading task I set him was any more daunting than the one Barry Hines gave Billy Casper. That both boys succeeded superbly simply underlines the central truths which I shall always hold about the measure and manner of children's achievements in reading and writing.

Now I really will shut up.

3 comments:

griseldaheppel said...

You will be much missed! As a recent recruit (by you, no less!) to Authors Electric, I've only been lucky enough to read a few of your blogs. Each one has been on a widely (even wildly) different subject, whether musing on writing or books you've enjoyed (your one on New Zealand writers was an eye opener for me). Your current projects do sound intriguing though and you have every reason to trim your commitments when you have several other exciting books on the go. Thank you for these wonderful last 2 posts - inspiring children to let their imaginations roam free and create their own 'true' stories is one of the greatest gifts they can be given.

And you too love the Celestial Omnibus! One of Forster's strangest but most enthralling stories. Doesn't it end with Achilles raising the boy on his shield? And the horses' hooves creating the rainbow bridge as they fly... Aargh snippets like these sound Disneyesque but it goes much deeper and scarier than that.

Dennis Hamley said...

Griselda, at last I've found someone who shares my admiration for the Celestial Omnibus. So many have told me they think it's a bit daft. And yes, Achilles and the shield and th rainbow bridge image might, out of context, be Disneyish but in the story they are heroic. Are you going to the WiO AGM next week? I'll bring some old copies of the Hare trilogy to sell dead cheap at the Book Slam if anyone wants them. The Barn Owl reissue oh Hare and PoD uploads of the original eds of the other two done by the late lamented Back-to-Front, the children's arm of the old Solidus Press.

griseldaheppel said...

No, sadly I'll be away so can''t make the AGM. Sorry to miss seeing everybody and the book slam is fun too. I'll look out for the Hare trilogy (maybe on the dreaded Amazon?) or perhaps you could bring some to another WIO event. :0)