Becoming an author is about so much more than simply slapping words between two covers – it’s about the journey and the TRANSFORMATION.
I had the privilege of interviewing internationally renowned children’s author Andy Griffiths following the release of his latest book, 143 Storey Treehouse with Terry Denton.
I am always curious about the transformations people go through when they become authors, so I asked Andy the same question I’ve asked everyone who has appeared on my Phoenix Phenomenon series; what do you think your greatest transformation has been.
His answer – as they always are – was powerful:
“I think for me, suddenly everything made sense. My whole life made sense, my love of nonsense, love of humour, my love reading, messing around and laughing at things that had no real point. Suddenly it all kind of gelled and I though ‘oh my god, I can do something useful with this!’ In my late 20s early 30s I first encountered students in my class that hated reading. I knew I needed to turn them around on this.
At first, I thought I’d have to try to be a professional and get serious. That never felt good or natural. I was putting it on. I did notice anything I told that had a humorous angle was always well received. I thought, ‘Maybe I’m a humour writer?’
When I gave the kids little books I had written myself to get them engaged with reading, they were a hit. It was all obvious in retrospect, but to me at the time, that was a revelation.
I knew I had to pursue this humour and didn’t care if anybody else gets it. A lot of my heroes are outsider artists do their own thing and the audience comes to them.
It was a bold decision at the time, because I was clearly not a John Marsden or Paul Jennings. But when Terry appeared, it was this really life-affirming thing. He picked up on the frequency that I was transmitting on and the kids did too. They get it immediately and don’t need it explained to them.
The key to happiness having access to all parts of your personality. The childhood is all important to awaken us to imagination and fun, pleasure of the present moment without worrying about what it’s all leading to, what happened yesterday.
Take pleasure in this very moment – like how I can make this stupid sound with my finger in my mouth… there is an enormous amount of pleasure to be had if you allow yourself to just have fun.”