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The Joy of Taking a Word for a Walk

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on July 29, 2020 18:44

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Writing may be a job or a chore, but sometimes it can be fun. And teaching a youngster to write and create can be even more fun.

I am not sure where I first heard the expression "taking a word for a walk" but Annmary Ibrahim's TLT a week or so ago about the anxiety of facing a blank page, and not knowing what to write made me think. Which writer has not had such a block?

A few years ago I discussed, with some friends, the end of the world. A rather school-boyish comment was: "Imagine you are the only guy on a yacht-filled with chicks, and the world comes to an end, leaving you to repopulate the world." At the time I was working on the third volume to a sci-fi series that was just not working out. On a long road trip, I took the idea of a global pandemic for a walk through possibilities, probabilities, and just plain fun.

The result was Ocean Witch, a story of Tom (also known as Tomcat) and Helga doing oceanic research with two yachts when a flu pandemic breaks out. Their adventures with a societal breakdown, governments being taken over by gangsters, and falling out of and into love is available on most electronic platforms, and I hope readers have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

Co-author's contribution, note phonetic spelling. Author's image.

We identified problems with my granddaughter's reading and writing skills while home-schooling during the lockdown. She has some sensoric challenges, and at one stage my research into possible autism led me to Alaria's Story. Well, I asked her to suggest an idea so that the two of us could take a story for a walk.

Mary's moon garden. Author's image.

This voyage has taken us to the moon, where Mary tends a fairy garden with magic flowers. She has a magic horse, Moonlight, who gets caught by a gronglegnome! Illustrating Mary's magic garden was fun and my wife drew a gronglegnome and an imp. Granddaughter contributed the fact that gronglegnomes have sharp yellow teeth and because they don’t brush them, their breath smells disgusting, and that imps are going to try to take over the moonlight valley to eat the flowers!

Gronglegnomes don't brush their teeth. Author's image.

We have since discovered that moonmushrooms make you invisible, but the invisibility wears off just as you steal your horseback from old Grunglegrongle. And that the wizard Alakazam's black cat is called Thunderbolt. One can get rid of imps with explosionpotion, which has to be formulated so that it will only explode imps. Willy woodcutter can carve a whistle to put imps to sleep so one can steal some whiskers for the explosionpotion.

Imp, too cute to explode? Image by Shahnaz van Wyk.

And if you are worried that the story could become a little violent, forcefertiliser will be a game changer ...

Taking words for a walk might be good lockdown exercise!

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on July 29, 2020 18:44

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Source: BBC

The senior aide's account of his trip during lockdown was "exhaustive and verifiable", minister says.

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