World Book Day is by far one of my favourite days of the year. Not only does it mark less than two weeks until my birthday, but it’s a day dedicated to my favourite thing in the world – reading and writing!
I remember all the years at school where my mind would be whirring the night before, thinking of what characters I could be, with so many options to choose from, but, usually, settling for my all-time favourite - Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
But even more fun than that was seeing everyone else’s costumes. Seeing what stories had inspired their hearts and minds. The diverse mix of characters they had chosen from such different and varied books.
On my drive to work I pass a large school in Guildford and it was an utter joy to stop and let Poison Ivy cross the road to school (or mischief, who knows with Ivy!). But I can’t help but wonder why all businesses don't also join in on the dressing up? Why is it that as we get older we stop celebrating such a joyfully creative day? I know I for one was inspired by the many stories I read and heard and watched as a child. As I mentioned, my favourite character was always Dorothy, who I imagine most know best from the MGM film ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
It’s not rare, especially these days, for books to be turned into films and for those films to become better known and more inspiring to the masses. But at the end of the day it is still a book at its roots. Comic books are said to inspire many artists, these are also books. How about magazines? Okay, not quite a typical book as we know it but it’s still a pile of paper, published and printed together, filled with stories and information – doesn’t that sound like a book to you? No matter what inspires your creativity I can bet that literature and writing is at the core of it. So why not celebrate that, even now?
For me, my very career was based on my love of books and yet here I am today, wearing a dress that, although (perhaps subconsciously) is blue and white, it is not quite the gingham dress and sparkling ruby slippers that Dorothy wore (or silver, depending on whether you’re a book or film fan).
It’s probably fair to say that life and being an adult gets in the way. With housework, children, and the many other things in our life, finding our own costume becomes just another chore and expense. And encouraging others in our workplaces to do the same is likely to be met with cynicism, due to some of the same reasons listed above, but also, for many, their own vanity. We seem to reach an age where dressing up becomes embarrassing and not the invigorating and fun chance to be creative that it should be.
I think as creative adults we should all take today to remember the joys of this day and the inspiration books have played on us all. The way they have, at some point, sparked our creativity, got us thinking and, in many cases, made us who we are today. So today, take a minute, sit down and think back to your favourite book, and remember what it was that inspired us to start thinking creatively and love the power of words.
I’m going to leave you with some of our most recommended/favourite books because we practise what we preach!
Mike – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Emily – Anything written by Jacqueline Wilson, she inspired my love of reading and writing from an early age.