A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.
Happy Roald Dahl Day!
I was recently in Cardiff and was so amazed to learn that in that city, Roald Dahl is a HUGE celebrity. We’re talking rock-star status. Imagine! He never starred in a reality TV show, or took part in some political scandal, or dated someone famous. He just wrote excellent books that my younger self adored.
The brilliant mind behind James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory1 didn’t pull his punches when it came to the perils of greed and gluttony or too much TV. And scoundrels and villains got their comeuppance—his sometimes wacky but usually bang-on sense of justice was so appealing to me.
But mainly I loved him because he was silly and irreverent and always, always, on the side of the kid, be it one so poor he only ever had cabbage soup for dinner, or a girl who discovers she has magical powers, or a boy who must go live with his two horrid aunts when his parents are killed by a runaway rhinoceros.
Thanks to Roald Dahl, I started wrapping my head around the idea that while, yes, life can really suck sometimes, with the right friends, it’s still mostly pretty gloriumptious. Even if your friends are bugs.
Some classic Dahl quotes:
“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.” Matilda
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
“Don’t gobblefunk around with words.”
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
Bonus feature: A clip from Matilda, The Musical. “When I grow up…I will eat sweets every day…” 🙂
- Did you know that there were a lot more kids in earlier drafts?