Trump and the Arts

Photo: TonyTheTiger

Those who only understand cost, profit and loss don’t often find it hard to understand the concept of value.

President Trump is intending to take away the National Endowment for the Arts. A fund that supports arts organisations around the USA, many of them tiny organisations that will have to close without support.

I’m sure The President’s billionaire pals will not be digging into their pockets to make up the difference with their spare change. They wouldn’t want to be seen as the hated elite, after all.

Those who spend their days counting money, don’t seem understand that the arts are far from elitist,ain fact they are the very foundations of industry and finance.

Everything that is made or built is thanks to human imagination. A lump of iron is of not much use without the imagination of the artist who fashions it into a sword, a steel girder for a Trump building or and iPhone. It is the financier who then helps to bring the idea to the world. A profiteer just exploits the idea to make money and move on.

Nothing exists, but that it first appeared as a thought in someone’s head. Technical training can teach you how to manifest that idea, but only the arts can expand the horizons of the mind, making it open to new ideas upon which the rest of the world can build.

President Trump loves everything covered in gold, but who does he think designs the patterns and shapes of his buildings? Who does he think imagines the building in the first place? Fairies?

All the gilded fanciness that he loves so much, all the fancy clothes that Melania wears – they all came out of the minds of people that went to art school, went to see plays and art exhibitions have spent years studying the arts to get to the point where they can create the stuff  the Trump Empire loves and has built it’s reputation on.

Without the Arts, Trump Tower would just be a pile of bricks and without the the arts providing the foundations, the Trump Empire would soon come tumbling down.

 

Questions for a Children’s Author

I visited St Paul’s CofE Primary School in Gloucester last week and some of the children still had questions to ask when our time was up. I asked their teacher Mrs Bevan, to send me an email with the questions I hadn’t answered, and promised to make a video for her and her class 5.

Having made the video, I though I might share it on my website too!

I mention that Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, is my favourite book. I made a video explaining why. You can see it here:

These are the questions that Year 5 asked

Lesley-Joyce:

  • How long does it take you to write your books?
  • Did you make the character Harri like drawing because you like drawing too?
  • Is it possible for you to give our school a couple of your books to put in our library? (her question – honest!?) Vikki asked this too!

Ethan:

  • How many books do you sell in a year?
  • Is it hard to write books?

Bea:

  • Who is your favourite character out of all of the books you’ve written? (Finnley asked this too)
  • What’s your most recent book?

Karl:

  • Where do you get your ideas from for your books and characters?

Gabko:

  • What is your favourite book that you haven’t written?

Vikki, Jennifer, Mario also asked the same questions as the ones above!

 

Full Stop. Comma, new Paragraph – all you need to write anything.

Sometimes, when I hear of the complicated grammar that primary children have to learn, I want to cry. The grammar that the curriculum requires them to learn is not to help them read or write, but to help academic examiners tick boxes.

Reading and marking a piece of writing is a difficult and subjective process. It requires effort. Ticking required items of grammar and keywords is much easier. But that doesn’t produce readers or writers. With all the effort that has been put into Literacy in the last 20 years, how come we still have a problem with struggling writers and reluctant readers?

In the world of music, three chords are all it takes to write multi-million selling songs that colour and punctuate our lives. Do we then still need complicated classical or jazz music to show off the rarified aspects of musical composition? Yes, we need it all. But we accept that some people write simple music and others write complicated music. We accept that complicated composition is a subject for experts – not beginners.

Most people listen to, understand and receive all the solace, fun, and entertainment they require from just three chords.

When great classical music reaches the soul, it is usually through simple moods and catchy melody lines – not because of the use of esoteric composition techniques. Once hooked, a few become aficionados and learn to understand the hidden complexities.

To write, all the grammar you need, is a full stop, a comma and a new paragraph – clear handwriting helps too.

To know what to write, one needs experience so you have something to write about. To know how to write, one needs to see how it is done and that means reading. Not reading to analyse grammar, but reading to seek knowledge, understanding and even for simple fun and entertainment. Reading lets you see how others do it.

As you read, you see how other writers glue the words together and, by a process of osmosis, learn to do the same.

If you don’t read, you will never see how the trick is done. If you spend all your time learning grammar, you will have all the tools but have no raw materials to work with.

Full Stop. Comma, new paragraph. The three chord trick of writing is all you need to write anything. If you want to progress and add a bit of sophistication to colour your voice, try an exclamation mark! Most everything else can be inferred.