Monday, December 27, 2010

The Inner Child

I was going to write a blog post in praise of snow since I thought that would be seasonal and I normally love the way it transforms even the dreariest street into something magical. However, in view of all the trouble the white stuff caused here in the UK before Christmas, that doesn’t seem appropriate any more. But even though we’re all sick of it now and want it to go away, the reaction it caused when it first started falling stuck in my mind and made me think.

What is it about snow that brings out the inner child in us so completely? On the day the snow began, I listened to a continuous stream of shrieks and laughter outside my window. Later, when walking the dogs, I came across at least a dozen snowmen of varying quality and just about every car had swipe marks where snow had been scraped off to make a snowball with. It’s obviously irresistible, whether you’re an adult or a child!

I have to admit it usually has the same effect on me. I have an urge to throw myself down and make snow angels the way I did as a child. I want to build a snowman, a snow fort and even a snow lantern (see photo – love those, so pretty!) And although I’m usually too lazy to go skiing, I suddenly detect a flicker of interest in the skiing brochures which I normally ignore. (Don’t worry though, it passes and I go back to couch potato mode fairly quickly.)

Whatever the cause, I think rediscovering our inner child from time to time like this is great for an author. As we grow older, more worldly wise and often jaded and disillusioned, it’s wonderful to be reminded of how we felt when we were younger. The sheer zest for life, being carefree and happy, doing something just because it feels good or is fun – those are all qualities we might need for our heroes and heroines, and perhaps other characters too.

What other things bring out the inner child in us? Well, I’m childishly partial to cartoons – I watched Disney’s Beauty and the Beast yesterday for the umpteenth time and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m eagerly awaiting their new release Tangled early next year based on my favourite fairy tale Rapunzel and if I have nothing better to do, I’ll happily surf the children’s channels and watch things like the Road Runner or Foghorn Leghorn.

For me, it can also be simple things like for example baking, when I always leave some of the batter or dough in the bowl for tasting after I’ve put the rest in the oven. Or how about jumping on frozen puddles to hear the ice crack. Standing with your toes sinking into the sand at the edge of the sea while waves lap around your feet. Building sandcastles. Going on a fairground ride. The list is endless, but the moments of being carefree and just enjoying life are precious. And although the snow was the villain of the piece this year, I know that next time we’ll all be rushing outside again to join in the fun.

What brings out the inner child in you?

Please come back on Sunday to hear from Liz.


  1. Oh, snow does exactly that to me, too, Christina! Games release my inner child, too, any that involve silliness and laughing and the secret guilty competitive urge....

    And Christmas. Christmas feeds my inner child like nothing else!

  2. Oh, I love the snow lantern! I'll have to make a trail of those up my front walk (if we ever do get snow here, that is...)

    And I agree with Anna. Christmas brings out the child in me every year, though my children will tell you it's never actually that well hidden during the other eleven months. I confess I use the children as my excuse for buying all my favourite old cartoons and Disney films on DVD (Blackbeard's Ghost, anyone?) and I think I eat more cookie dough than they do.

    But I think one of the quirks about being a writer is that we do tend to keep that inner child alive and well -- that sense of wonder, and of 'Wow!', and the incessant curiosity. After all, writing is one great big game of make-believe, isn't it?

    And making snow angels is fun at any age.

  3. Oh, yes, Christmas is definitely a time for the inner child! And you're right, Susanna, writing is a game of make-believe - I'd never looked at it that way before!

    Hope you get some snow soon, you'll need the wet sticky kind for snow lanterns as they're very tricky to make. Well worth it though:)

  4. Anna - yes, I forgot about silly games! We played some last night, such fun!

  5. Snow definitely brings out my inner child, I love making snow angels and building snow squirrels. But lots of other things have a similar effect: scrunching through autumn leaves; sunny days at the coast - paddling in the sea, or clambering over the rocks, or just feeling the sun and a salt breeze on my face; talking to a good friend (on the phone or in person) can have me giggling and finding humour in little things; music can make me hyper like a child and dance frenetically; going on day trips somewhere fun or new and interesting; and spending time with my nieces or godchildren. Any and all of those.

    I guess it doesn't take much to get my inner child to come out to play!

  6. More inner child fun: Making daisy chains, rolling down grassy hills, walking across a stream on stepping stones or a fallen log, climbing trees.