One of my strongest influences growing up was someone I had never met, but he remains someone I strongly admire. He helped fuel my need for adventure, inspired my imagination, and justified my love of chocolates.
I think by this point you can guess who this is.
Roald Dahl entered my life when I was approximately eight years old. My brother moved to his secondary school, a private school, where their English lit required them to read Boy by Roald Dahl. I was an avid reader then (and now, too), and my brother is the main shaper of my reading materials. So, when he tossed me the book, I devoured it fairly quickly. I had never read a book that speaks of childhood that way. He wrote about his parents, he wrote about growing up in Norway, of his adventures in the candy store, going away to boarding school and faking appendicitis. He wrote about joining the RAF, of working for Shell, his photography. There is so much to love about the way he wrote, and the drawings that Quentin Blake provided to bring them to life. Seeing his photographs of his life, the letters he wrote to his mother, the telegraphs sent: that’s probably what inspired my hoarding behaviour. I keep a lot of things from my childhood, filing away old penpal letters, my neckties, little knick knacks.
I dare say I have read most of his work. My first Roald Dahl book that was bought for me (and not part of my brother’s curriculum, because he read Going Solo in Form 2) was Esio Trot, that my classmate’s mother bought for me as a birthday present. I think I almost memorised that book. It was very clever, the tale of Mr Hoppy and how he switched the tortoises just to win the heart of his neighbour.
The Witches, The B.F.G., Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and so much more came after that. I have this compilation-type book with short stories and poems, and I suggested that my group and I recite Dahl’s version of ‘Cinderella’ for our Form 1 English oral presentation.
Roald Dahl was a soldier, a writer, a photographer, and had a mad imagination. I enjoyed living in his world. I grew up wishing that my life could be as incredible as his, and I still do. While reality has ‘robbed’ me off having too similar an experience, I think the life I have led so far has proven interesting in my own way.
While I may never leave a mouse in a candy jar, or scrape off my nose in a car accident, or hang out of a plane just to get the right shot of the pyramids, I think there’s potential in my life yet.
In other news, I think I’m done with the 30 days meme. The ones that were left on the list are stuff I have mentioned before or weren’t really applicable to me. But that means I just have to look for daily inspiration, like this post was. Though posts may be sporadic from this point on, I’m trying to write daily, or most of the week at least.
Happy December to you! x