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, 1916 -
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
Now And Then
The fine line between roaring with laughter and crying because it's a disaster is a very, very fine line. You see a chap slip on a banana skin in the street and you roar with laughter when he falls slap on his backside. If in doing so you suddenly see he's broken a leg, you very quickly stop laughing and it's not a joke anymore.
Had I not had children of my own, I would have never written books for children, nor would I have been capable of doing so.
I began to realize how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow with fixed hours, a fixed salary, and very little original thinking to do.
I do have a blurred memory of sitting on the stairs and trying over and over again to tie one of my shoelaces, but that is all that comes back to me of school itself.
A writer of fiction lives in fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not.
I go down to my little hut, where it's tight and dark and warm, and within minutes I can go back to being six or seven or eight again.
The adult is the enemy of the child because of the awful process of civilizing this thing that, when it is born, is an animal with no manners, no moral sense at all.
Two hours of writing fiction leaves this writer completely drained. For those two hours he has been in a different place with totally different people.
I was a fighter pilot, flying Hurricanes all round the Mediterranean. I flew in the Western Desert of Libya, in Greece, in Syria, in Iraq and in Egypt.
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If my books can help children become readers, then I feel I have accomplished something important.
'Dexter' is a very well-oiled machine; it's just a great show and great to be part of.
To shipbrokers, coal was black gold.
A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.
Pain was something we were expected to endure. But I doubt very much if you would be entirely happy today if a doctor threw a towel in your face and jumped on you with a knife.
Nowadays you can go anywhere in the world in a few hours, and nothing is fabulous any more.
Did they preach one thing and practice another, these men of God?
I shot down some German planes and I got shot down myself, crashing in a burst of flames and crawling out, getting rescued by brave soldiers.
The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn't go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him.
When I walked to school in the mornings I would start out alone but would pick up four other boys along the way. We would set out together after school across the village green.
I find that the only way to make my characters really interesting to children is to exaggerate all their good or bad qualities, and so if a person is nasty or bad or cruel, you make them very nasty, very bad, very cruel. If they are ugly, you make them extremely ugly. That, I think, is fun and makes an impact.
When you're writing a book, with people in it as opposed to animals, it is no good having people who are ordinary, because they are not going to interest your readers at all. Every writer in the world has to use the characters that have something interesting about them, and this is even more true in children's books.
All Norwegian children learn to swim when they are very young because if you can't swim it is difficult to find a place to bathe.
All through my school life I was appalled by the fact that masters and senior boys were allowed quite literally to wound other boys, and sometimes very severely.
An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details.
I am only 8 years old, I told myself. No little boy of 8 has ever murdered anyone. It's not possible.
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