|Le requin marteau et les jours de la semaine – Martin|
My nine-year-old son came home from school last week begging to be brought to hear David Dumortier reading poetry in the library that evening. He’s not usually a bookish kid–more an outdoorsy type–so I was rather surprised. He went on to explain that David had been to his school that afternoon and had performed magic tricks. Aha! He wanted to see a magician, not a poet.
David is a fantastic entertainer. Reciting poetry, embedded in magic tricks, he made the kids laugh. One child was brought to the stage to learn how to do nothing. David had invented a machine to help him. The kid sat winding a handle on a toy that did nothing. Every time he stopped he was prodded to ‘keep it up, do nothing’ and he had to wind again.
Meanwhile a child helped carry a magician’s hat around the audience and David pulled out lines of poetry, read them and threw them into the air. My son grappled with the rest of the kids to grab as many as he could.
It was a great performance. He’s a great speaker. He also managed to sell a few books. But, as a writer, I’m depressed at the idea of having to do a similar performance to sell my work. These days it seems that writing the book is only part of the deal. Engaging with the public to persuade them to buy it is a huge part of the writer’s job. But what do you do if you’re not naturally a magician or entertainer?
The outcome for my nine-year-old: He begged if he could write a poem before bed. I agreed (bemused, amazed). He produced the above poem. He announced that it was ‘full of originality’ (Then he checked what originality means.) Still, I’d call that a result!