I had an interesting encounter with a 10 year old boy, yesterday.
This young man had recently taken a copy of The Beechworth Bakery Bears book to school – a ‘show and tell’ kind of arrangement, I suppose, and he was keen to inform me of the fact and incidentally to grill me about the production of books. You may not be surprised that I found myself talking about the need to change hats a lot, in order to see different tasks through the prism cast by the hat . . .
Along the way, he volunteered that his favorite piece in the book is ‘Chutney and the Condiments.’ He was most interested in understanding why they had those particular names. A discussion about location on a shelf selling chutneys, jams and other spreads, as well the various kinds of spread (chutney, relish, jam etc) and the role of condiments generally, followed. He found the practices that I follow in exercising the power of ‘naming’ my creations a wonderful things and decided that henceforth, I should be known as Chutney.
Along the way I stole a chance to do a little market research on my own behalf and enquired about what kinds of bok cover a boy of ten years prefers, and why that choice?
The response was unequivocal. Hard cover. He informed me that soft covers bend and crease and are benerally unfit for purpose.
I’m relating this episode because it delighted me to have my work queried and discussed so appreciatively and matter-of-factly by a direct user/consumer of the product, so to speak. This is the second occasion in the last couple of months where a young person of around 10 years of age has materially informed my understanding of the craft of writing from an audience perspective. I feel very grateful to them both.