It’s Roald Dahl Day, here’s how he influenced me.
Today is Roald Dahl day, being a childhood hero of mine, I couldn’t let the day of what would have been his 100th Birthday to pass without writing about him. He is very simply the reason I create to this day. I remember vividly reading his books aged 6 or 7 and writing my own stories on a blank piece on paper, inspiration really before i even knew what that was. I have always been like that, inspired by brilliant work and people and set out off to make my own version of it. Still to this day twelve years on that applies. I think the reasons are two fold, one is because i naturally am curious about the world around me and how people see any given situation, the second is because that experience reading Dahl’s work was so memorable that i wanted to get that feeling over and over again, a sense of being who you are and conveying that through various art forms.
Of course as time has gone on the art forms have evolved, painting, writing and mechanics has been superseded by graphic design, electronic publishing and computer programming. The core mechanics work the same though, and he was a huge influence in that regard. From stories about evil witches to a small boy visiting a factory or a giant peach, Dahl always delivered. His stories had a much deeper meaning than at first glance, often curating tales between small children portrayed as the hero with adults considered mean and overbearing. Children were simple and neutral, the reader could make their own minds up about them, the adults were portrayed as if they were trying to stamp out the curiosity within small minds.
Dahl clearly had a lot to go on when writing these stories given the fact he had a very busy life full of adventure, something he wanted to hark back to in his stories. While being incredibly imaginative he still managed to be dark and humorous, something quite difficult to do. I was always captivated by stories like Matilda, Danny the Champion of the World and the BFG, perhaps because they were the clearest displays of this concept. Wether it was hunters, arrogant parents or giant human eaters, i was constantly amazed by how he could pull this off over a lengthy period of time and people not getting bored at all by his style. A real timeless Author, someone who will be remembered for a very long time because of how he enriched children’s lives.
Not only was his impact felt in publishing, but also in film. Wildly popular films like James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the BFG helped cement Roald Dahl’s name as a hugely successful author who changed the lives of those who had the fortune to experience his material. Thats where my creativity and curiosity today comes from, not from something I learned but this innate feeling that was expressed perfectly by Dahl. There won’t be another like him for a very long time. So witty, colourful and full of great experiences, the perfect author for children’s stories in my view.