aamcnamara: (Default)
[personal profile] aamcnamara
There is a tumblr full of Diana Wynne Jones memorials and I started writing this as a submission, and then it turned into a post.

I discovered Diana Wynne Jones with Year of the Griffin. It's a sequel, so it seems an odd starting place, but it worked well for me. When you're a kid, adults assume that you aren't as smart as they are just because you're younger. They look down on you, they use smaller words when they're talking to you, they pat you on the head--physically or metaphorically. When you're a bookish kid who has a big vocabulary and a fierce imagination, this can result in...difficulties.

The main characters in Year of the Griffin are in college, by my younger self's standards basically grown-up, but nearly all the adults talk down to them anyway. This creates...problems. But their desire to learn and their friendships allow them to keep growing, circumvent the adults, and solve some (okay, most) of the problems the adults think are unsolvable.

Finally, I had found characters with whom I had complete sympathy.

Better yet, this Diana Wynne Jones person had written lots of books! In each one, the plot was complicated and difficult to predict, and in each one I added new words to my vocabulary--in a very natural way, by encountering unfamiliar words when reading and garnering what context I could to figure out what they meant. They were clever and funny and magical and wise, books I could reread over and over. Some of them were books that I could tell I didn't quite understand yet, but that was okay; I had the other ones, and maybe eventually I could read them again and they'd make sense. (I get Crown of Dalemark now, but I am pretty sure I still don't understand Fire and Hemlock.)

And--well--I don't know what else to say. I said some of it last year. At least part of A Returning Power is responding to her work, and I'm sure bits of other stories I've written owe quite a lot to her too. To a certain extent? I don't think I'll ever stop saying things about Diana Wynne Jones.

Date: 2012-04-20 08:03 am (UTC)
anne: (Default)
From: [personal profile] anne
I encountered F&H as an adult, and I'm still not sure I get the whole thing. But it's always fun to keep trying.

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