Roald Dahl is my hero.
James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Magic Finger, Fantastic Mr Fox…these are the books that made my childhood magical.
‘Magical’ is not a word I use much as an adult. But when I read a book like James and the Giant Peach or watch a film like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, miraculously I start believing again.
That’s why I love books and stories.
Open up a book and anything can happen! There are no rules or restrictions or ‘realities’. In a world of commutes and deadlines, that’s a wondrous thing.
Books are, as Stephen King says, a “portable magic”. And if you pick the right one, it can whisper its magic to you for the rest of the day. I love that feeling; like the universe has shifted onto a subtly different plane. (Does anyone else get that, or is it just me?!)
Children see magic everywhere. In a book, a snail, a flower, a cloud…
But then they grow up and stop believing. They stop looking. They stop expecting. And funnily enough, life becomes monotonous and drab.
Maybe that’s why so many parents enjoy reading books like Harry Potter to their children at night?
They get a much-needed dose of magic in their lives.
But why is it OK for children and not for a human past a certain age? Adults need magic in their lives too!
That’s why I want to be a writer.
And that’s why Roald Dahl is my hero.
I love his eccentricities: He was 6ft 6in tall. He wrote in a small, cobwebby hut at the bottom of his garden. He stopped at midday for his daily gin and tonic. He always wrote in pencil on yellow paper (yellow was his favourite colour). And he sat with a rug on his knees and a collection of his favourite objects by his side, including one of his own arthritic hip bones and a ball made from silver chocolate bar wrappers.
But most importantly of all, I love the fact that he maintained a childlike sense of wonder, regardless of his age.
From The BFG;
“The matter with human beans,” the BFG went on, “is that they is absolutely refusing to believe in anything unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles.”
Keep your eyes peeled for magic today (it might be right under your schnozzle).