Yesterday, Mum and I went to a talk given by Lauren Child, as part of the Auckland Writers Festival. This was EXTREMELY THRILLING for me.
I feel like I grew up on the Clarice Bean books. I read and read and re-read them. My favourite parts of them, though, were always the bits about child super-brain secret agent, Ruby Redfort. In these books we got tiny glimpses into the Ruby novels and TV series that Clarice devoured, and I felt a kinship with Clarice as I, too, devoured every glimpse we got. I laboriously copied and compiled every Ruby Rule we saw, in chronological order, into my own Ruby Rules notebook – to help me out on my own secret agent missions of course 😉
I dreamed and wished that the Ruby Redfort books were real – and when I was sixteen, to my enormous surprise and delight, my wish came true. It seems that I was not the only child wishing that Ruby was real, because children requested, and Lauren wrote! Each of the past six years has brought a new Ruby book, and the entire series has been wonderful, and perfect, and everything I had hoped they would be. With their complicated codes, nail-biting mysteries, wonderfully nefarious villains and infinitely endearing characters, they were pure gems.
Lauren Child is also a pure gem. Sometimes when you see somebody in real life, they’re somehow not what you thought they might be, but as with Ruby, this was most definitely not so. She was witty and brilliant and funny, and Mum and I loved every minute of her talk. She talked about illustrating and feminism and thrillers and superheroes and the unexpected, and it was all just marvelous and refreshing and inspiring.
The last Ruby book arrived at the point when I was really my most unwell, and it was a ray of sunshine in quite a dark time. And now that I am recovering, and taking baby steps back into being creative again, and trying new things again, and just starting to feel like me again, this talk came at a time where I really need sparkling moments like these.
Lauren Child, I’ve never met you, but I feel like you have given me so much.