Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"I haven't got a clue, but . . ."

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I have a fondness for Big Questions, and indeed, several of my posts are tagged with that label. Occasionally, in a writer's workshop, I'll lead an exercise called 100 questions. Being able to ask crazy questions is one of the reasons I'm glad I'm an author. And if I were a punctuation mark, I'd be .... you guessed it, a question mark.

So you'll know why I loved this bit from David Almond, who recently received the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award.

(from the interview in Shelf Awareness by Jennifer Brown)

Brown: It does seem as though we lose track of the big questions when we enter adulthood, doesn't it?

Almond: Because we realize that the questions are unanswerable. There's a tendency to turn away from them, to say they're boring or beyond solution. One of the things about writing for children is you look at the world through their eyes, and the world remains astonishing. I haven't got a clue what it is, and it seems to me more and more beautiful, but more and more unanswerable.

My yoga practice this morning was centered around the idea of releasing fear in order that there be more room for love. We hold both in our chests, in our hearts and lungs, which tighten when we're afraid. The Big Questions (along with a few Cow or Fish poses) are those that untangle that fear of the unanswerable and open our hearts and minds to the astonishing. It seems to me that if we uncurl, our question marks become exclamations.

Me: ?
World: !

Maybe David Almond hasn't "got a clue," but I don't think it's an accident his books explore "The Art of Transformation."


  1. I think most adults who work with kids do so at least partly because neither party can let the big questions go. I had a 10 year old in the library yesterday who has been studying the 9/11 attacks quite stridently. I was helping him find a few things in the adult collection, and he was talking to me about what he remembered from the coverage when he was so small, what he had thought since, what he had learned, how confusing it all was. He's just really wrestling with the whole thing, asking himself those big WHYs. It was something to see.

  2. I love love love David Almond, and you can see he thinks about these questions through kids' eyes in every one of his books.

    Excellently inspiring quote.

  3. Love this. Off to think about the big questions before I faceplant in my pillow.

  4. david almond is wonderful. thank you so much for posting this!
    -from a fellow question mark who knows you will tear that tent down with goodness on saturday!:)


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