I was asked this a few times on a school visit I did recently (which I totally meant to blog about and then forgot). For me, I deal with things by writing about them. Not necessarily in fiction (although having just written a book about a girl who’s father’s died, it seems I do that too), but if I’m struggling with something, I work through it by writing about it.
I didn’t actually realise that was the case until I was in labour with Harry and in a right state. I asked David to bring a notebook and pen to the hospital and sat and wrote and wrote and felt much better. Even now, if I wake up stressing about something in the middle of the night, coming downstairs and writing about it – even if it’s a blog post or sometimes even a tweet – makes me feel much better, more in control. I think partly it’s because my mind is hopping around all over the place, but if I write stuff down, I can impose an order on it.
I thought about this yesterday because Harry seems to be the same. We were walking home from school and a man stopped us to ask if I had a lighter. Once he’d gone, Harry said, “What did that man want?” “To borrow a lighter.” “What’s a lighter?” “You will have seen them. You use them instead of matches.” “Why did he want one?” “Probably to light a cigarette.” “What’s a cigarette?” (I hadn’t realised until then that Harry didn’t know what a cigarette is, but we don’t know anyone who smokes anymore so I shouldn’t have been surprised.) I explained cigarettes to him and then he said “Miaowser smokes…”
Miaowser is one of Harry’s (many) pretend friends. Harry then started telling me how Miaowser is the only one of his pretend friends who smokes and how his other pretend friends tell him not to, but Miaowser does it anyway. I’ve actually noticed Harry doing this before – processing something I’ve told him by putting it in a story – but I didn’t really think much of it until yesterday. Interesting, don’t you think?
Also a good excuse to once again share my favourite ever Harry video:
Why do you write?