Ah, Funniest, You Say?
Philip Pullman of The Golden Compass fame (he's famous for other things, too, but The Golden Compass is my favorite) has an essay in Salon this week. Actually, the essay is adapted from his introduction to a book called Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay, and it's called The Funniest Children's Book Ever.
In short, Pullman claims that Magic Pudding is, well, the funniest children's book ever. He says he can't explain why it's funny, and it is true that sometimes humor can't be explained. He also says the language is so "fresh and lively that it might have been written yesterday." Then he gives some examples such as: "Sam Sawnoff's feet were sitting down and his body was standing up, because his feet were so short and his body so long that he had to do both together."
I totally do not get that. Perhaps you had to be there--a hundred years ago when the book was written!
Okay, I most definitely like bringing an old book to the public's attention, even if I personally don't get it. I certainly hope someone is writing introduction to reprints of my books a hundred years from now, whether or not the readers of that generation get me. Pullman says that Lindsay wrote Magic Pudding because "children liked eating and fighting."
I have to agree that that's been my experience, too.
I revised three chapters today, which is absolutely a massive amount of work for me. I even went back to work on the third chapter after dinner instead of exercising. (I have an exercise obsession.) I have written this entry as well.
I guess it did me a lot of good to read Jane Yolen's journal yesterday.