Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas inspiration for children's story

In my latest book for children Bernie and the Captain’s Ghost, the protagonist and the other five children in the story are all physically handicapped in some way. This is not very common in Caribbean stories; we still have a way to go in accepting and nurturing our disabled people. I have been asked why I chose to make these children disabled.  As usual with the creative process, one is never really sure, but I think the following experience had something to do with it.

For a long time in my house, Christmas was always an anxious time, and I went through the motions but didn't really enjoy it all much. This Christmas, many years ago, changed things, a bit,

One of my daughters having graduated from Mico with a teaching diploma specializing in Special Education went to teach at a school which catered for the disabled.  As Christmas approached and I had my usual anxiety about how it would go, I had an idea to change things. I asked her if the matron of the home where most of the children lived would allow a few to come to us for Christmas day. She was given permission to take six of them home with her, (I think it was because she was a teacher at the school) and we set about preparing for the day. 

By Christmas day my attitude had changed. I realized that in thinking about how to make the children comfortable and give them a meaningful experience, I had forgotten my own fears and negative approach. With my other children we went shopping for presents for the children and took pleasure preparing the Christmas dinner adding things we thought they would specially enjoy.

Not having been around the disabled, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the day turned out to be very satisfying. We were all happy as we worked to make the children feel special, helping those who needed help and so on..  We enjoyed their laughter and pleasure in some of things we had organized for them, and forgot our petty jealousies, anxieties and other (to be truthful) quite selfish woes.

I think what struck me most was that in spite of their physical disabilities they were just - children.Many years later when I came to write Bernie and the Captain’s Ghost, I think it was those six children who ended up in the story having a wonderful adventure as they solved the mysteries at Green Valley  during a strange summer holiday.

P.S.  It would be nice if some good Samaritans would contact Carlong and purchase some books to give to Children's Homes. These kids don't often see themselves as heroes in stories.
Carlong contacts:
phone: 876 9609366
My thanks

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