Looking Glass Language

a word bird reflects on life & language

Archive for the category “children”

Ken’s pants

pants

Had to share a fabulous example of twisted kid’s language given to me by my lovely friend Amanda…

Her sister’s family used to holiday down in Cornwall, and the long car journey was punctuated by her niece Molly proclaiming, “We’re going to Ken’s pants! We’re going to Ken’s pants!”

I’m never going to think of Penzance the same way again…

Thanks, Molly.

P1010721

out of the mouths of bébés…

anouka cat

“Je vais faire de bruite très calme, car j’aime le bruit très calme1.”  The musings of a French romantic poet? Victor Hugo, Théophile Gautier or Alfred de Musset, perhaps? No. The musings of a three-year old.

With her French artist / yoga teacher mother and English sax player father, the odds were high that Noukie (now nine) would be quirky and artistic. But her idiosyncratic, artistic, and at times esoteric take on the world seems more profound than that.

Seeing the dusty body of a pigeon lying in the gutter, its blue-grey feathers ruffling in the wind, she said “il est cassé, le pigeon” (it is broken, the pigeon): as though it were a broken toy she could no longer play with. Then, taking Pascale’s hand, she asked calmly, “Parle me encore de la mort” (speak to me more about death). Read more…

Design Week | We Like | 26 Characters

Design WeekSo great to see that a project I’m involved in, 26 Characters, is this morning’s Design Week We Like pick… Having received my copies in the post a couple of days ago, I’m not surprised – it’s a lovely thing, with beautiful illustrations.

 

B is for Borrowers.

The book sees 26 children’s literary characters – from Mary Poppins to Merlin – reimagined by 26 writers (of whom I am one – see A Father’s Duty) and 26 leading illustrators. 

This book came about thanks to The Story Museum’s 26 Characters exhibition in Oxford. We writers were asked to respond to portraits of leading authors taken by celebrity photographer Cambridge Jones. The author subjects, including Malorie Blackman, Philip Pullman and Julia Donaldson, were dressed as their favourite childhood literary characters for the portraits, which featured in the museum’s inaugural exhibition.

Our written responses to the portraits had to be in the form of a sestude – a poem of 62 words exactly (26 in reflection – 26|62 – a form of verse invented by writers’ collective 26 to reflect our name, itself inspired by the number of letters of the alphabet). Each of us was given a letter of the alphabet as our starting point, and the completed sestudes were then passed to the illustrators.

My letter was B, and Paul Pateman, aka Pâté, did a fabulous job illustrating my sestude about Pod & Arrietty from The Borrowers – illustrating the B with a giant pencil clasped in a Borrower’s hands. ‘B’ is for beautifully done, Paul…

 

Pic by Cambridge Jones

Pic by Cambridge Jones

Here’s the portrait which inspired my little poem: Ted Dewan and his daughter Pandora dressed up as Pod and Arrietty. I’m looking forward to visiting the exhibition proper in a couple of weeks’ time but I’ve already relished seeing authors throw off their inhibitions to personify a favourite character from a childhood book – just look at how gleefully Malorie Blackman embodies The Wicked Witch of the West!

 

Malorie Blackman as The Wicked Witch of the West

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 26 Characters booklet is available here, priced at £5.

Related articles / sites:

http://www.designweek.co.uk/we-like/26-characters/3038329.article

http://www.26.org.uk/index.php/2014/04/26-characters-at-the-story-museum/

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sara-sheridan/childrens-books_b_5153274.html

https://www.facebook.com/events/599353783488397/

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Belatedly: The Mysteries of Christmas…

Sestude by Chris Bird

26 Stories of Christmas

The mysteries of  my Christmas 2013 include…

  • Why I thought it was a good idea to eat my own body weight in turkey & trimmings
  • How I imagined that, after all that turkey, some Christmas pudding and a glass of port might be a good idea
  • How, after combing my sister’s house for our possessions, and doing a thorough sweep under the bed and behind the sofa, I managed to leave behind the bag of presents she gave me for the children
  • And how I could have forgotten to post up a link to 26 Stories of Christmas , on which my sestude, The Mysteries of Christmas, written in response to a wonderful picture drawn by a young cancer sufferer, was  featured on Chrsitmas Day…
  • The advent calendar was produced in support of wonderful charities, It’s Good To Give and The Teenage Cancer Trust, and if you’d like to see the site in action, and donate to these worthwhile causes, the Day 1  plus donation link still works… As the Christmas Day one no longer seems to, I’ve included my poem and the great drawing that inspired it, at left. I’ve also included some background on the project, below…

The story behind the idea

At the beginning of September 2011 Sam Gray had an idea. What if we, the writers’ collective ’26’ challenged our members to create an online advent calendar of words and images? In its first incarnation 26 Stories of Christmas paired writers with design students, inspiring 26 short stories.

How the idea grew

In 2013 we wanted to build on what we’d achieved. During our 26 Treasures exhibitions of 2011- 2013 we piloted a new literary form – the sestude. This comprises 62 words written in poetry, drama or prose. We decided this year to write our Christmas advent messages in this, shortened form. As it’s Christmas, we wanted to add an emotional core to what we were doing so we teamed up with two worthy charities – Teenage Cancer Trust and Its Good 2 Give – who asked some of the sick children and young people they help to draw us 26 inspirational Christmas images. As it turned out, the children and young people themselves proved as inspiring as the Christmas trees, snowmen, elves, reindeer, stars and even Santa submarine they came up with. And we added the ability to donate to the charity of your choice to make everyone’s daily dose of 26 Christmas stories feel even better…

#shelfie, #26xmas

Twitter #shelfie

#shelfie, a glorious, literary take on #selfie (this year’s word of the year, according to the Oxford Dictionary), has been trending on Twitter for the past couple of weeks.

It’s the kind of trend I’d normally be right on top of (see Wordy Wednesday: Selfie), and the fact that I’ve been reluctant to add my bookshelf pic to the mix doesn’t reflect the busyness of the season, instead demonstrating that ego plays as much part in a #shelfie as it does in a #selfie (in fact, since I’m no longer a teenager, possibly more…). Ok, I admit it: I want a #shelfie that suggests erudition and hidden depths of character – who wouldn’t? Read more…

Wordy Wednesday: sestude

Rebecca Dowman's sestude: The Snowman ShowWhile this week’s word, sestude, may not be one to set a Scrabble enthusiast’s pulse racing (unlike muzjiks, for instance, the highest scoring game opener), it’s still a word that aspires to big things..

If you’re wondering how ‘sestude’ passed you by (and/or getting frustrated by my failure to supply a definition), I’ll put you out of your misery. Although, technically, sestude is in the Collins Online Dictionary, it’s in there only as a new word suggestion… 

Read more…

‘Penis dunking’ – a fab bit of over-sharing on Mumsnet

Mumsnet penis beaker

If you thought Mumsnet was all about sharing tips on breastfeeding tips and baby-friendly boltholes (like the fabulous Villa Jalon, near Valencia, run by Sarah & Johnny Robinson), the content of the current twitter and media storm might surprise you…

The Mumsnet penis-dunking post – yes, you read that right – even made it onto Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 earlier… The original poster has kept her composure remarkably well, seemingly convinced that any moment now someone else is going to ‘fess up to having a dedicated post-coital clean-up section too...

Comments like this – “Even if you have an acid fanjo and his sperm is nine tenths itching powder, surely you can use the bathroom at the same time? You can wash your fanjo in the bath and he can scrub his cock in the sink,” – had me crying with laughter. If you haven’t yet done so, it’s definitely worth following the link and reading the entire thread.

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/mumsnet_classics/a1875847-Do-you-dunk-your-penis

“Don’t gobblefunk around with words…” BFG

Just a quick note to wish you a happy Roald Dahl Day!

It seems highly appropriate to be celebrating Dahl and his darkly humorous stories on Friday 13th this year.
Roald Dahl Day

Amongst Roald Dahl’s enduringly popular works are:

James and the Giant Peach

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Matilda

The Witches

Fantastic Mr Fox

The Twits

Danny, The Champion of the World

George’s Marvelous Medicine

The BFG

It’s difficult to choose a favourite, but if I had to, I’d choose Danny, The Champion of the World, because the warmth of the relationship between Danny & his dad makes me cry. Which is your favourite?

he can’t spell yet, but he sure can wield an apostrophe…

To Mummy, have a verry verry happy Mother's day, you sansirley, from your gorgers boy I’m not sure what I love most about this Mother’s day card, given to my sister by my nephew:

  • His endearingly intuitive phonetic spelling (“you sansirley from your gorgers boy”. Bless.)
  • The gift-wrapped presents. (What’s in the tall thin parcel? A telescope? A toblerone? I need to know.)
  • The ‘I love you xxx’ pullout, or…
  • The fact that he’s mastered the use of the apostrophe at such a tender age…

Read more…

fingered speech: txtng as bilingualism

Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 21.14.39When Mencap, a charity for learning disabilities, sponsored a poll of 500 UK parents and teachers, two-in-three teachers reported that they regularly find text-speak in pupils’ homework, and over three-quarters of parents said they needed help de-coding the text-speak in their children’s texts and emails. 89% of those surveyed found that the growing prevalence of text-speak was creating a language barrier between adults and children. Read more…

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