Gothic horror was thoroughly out of fashion in children’s literature when, in the early nineteen-nineties, the writer Neil Gaiman began to work on “Coraline,” a book aimed at “middle readers”—aged nine to twelve—in which he reimagined Clifford’s demon as “the other mother,” an evil and cunning anti-creator who threatens to destroy his young protagonist. “The idea was, look, if the Victorians can do something that deeply unsettles kids, I should be able to do that, too,” he told me recently.
Are we burdening our kids with our obsessive expectations for high exam scores? Are we limiting their freedom by guiding them into more traditional professions that are considered ‘safe’?…
But let’s not level our complaints too heavily on our country’s mothers and fathers. Most are not resorting to authoritative means like Professor ViruS . They just want their children to be happy and to attain success. In fact it is completely reasonable to have high expectations of your kids…
The problems occur in my experience because parents are confused about how to motivate and guide their kids in the best way. How much pressure—and what kind of pressure—should one put on one’s child? Some parents I have met are too tough; there are others who constantly walk on egg shells, terrified of upsetting their children. Mostly, however, the parents I meet just have unanswered questions…Here’s how you can push your kids without pushing them over the edge.
For Indians now in their mid-thirties-early fifties, the three authors who shaped our childhood reading more than any others were P G Wodehouse, Frank Richards and Enid Blyton. Richards’ Billy Bunter books were a marvellous example of how easy it is for children—and their parents—to overlook the politically incorrect in favour of excellent entertainment: few of us, reading his boarding-school classics, remarked on the exoticism of Hurree Jamset Ram Singh, whose accent was a constant source of comment and hilarity for Bunter and co. But then, few of us remarked on the stridently Communist propaganda of the Soviet classics; my impression is that as children, we skipped the politics and stuck with the colour.
When I was at MOMA last week, I saw a list of director and artist Tim Burton's projects. Here's the guy who's responsible for some of the most breathtaking movies of his generation, and the real surprise is this: almost every year over the last thirty, he worked on one or more exciting projects that were never green lighted and produced. Every year, he spent an enormous amount of time on failed projects.
One key element of a successful artist: ship. Get it out the door. Make things happen.
The other: fail. Fail often. Dream big and don't make it. Not every time, anyway.