|Pages 58 and 59, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes|
"In a quiet place she listened to people's voices. When they talked it sounded like they were reading poetry. Sometimes it was as if they were singing to each other.
The exact meaning of their conversations remained obscured. She stayed on the edges, apart and remote and continued to listen intently."
When I drew the little girl in this pose it reminded me of myself, aged 7, in the playground of a new school, my third new school. On the edges, looking in, as you do in a new place, unsure and without friends. The words that accompany her apply to me now, as a grown woman, still on the edges, looking in, listening to a new language that I am still trying to learn.
I do not recount this to elicit sympathy. On the contrary I actually enjoy my semi-nomadic status. I wear it proudly. Someone once asked me what was it like to be moved around a lot and to go to that many schools. I could not answer. Your life is just your life. You do not know any different and how can you say how it would have it been if it had been different. Surely you would be an entirely different person!
|Pages 60 and 61, The Sketchbook Project 2011, Cari-Jane Hakes|
"The girl was invited to a party and wore her necklace of moonlight. She had learnt how to say all the numbers in this new language but found that really this was not a great way to start a conversation with anyone. Before she could find out how to say 'goodbye' it was time to leave."
So, yes, the girl is partly I, she is partly the daughter I never had and she is her own person too. It has always intrigued me listening to authors talking about their work. They often remark upon how the characters that they created begin going places and doing things that they had not anticipated at the outset of the book. And so it is with this little girl and her stuffed newt called Cedric. More on him tomorrow I think!