Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Thinking about Mum... by Cathy Ace

Life: Share memories of being read to. Or stories you read to those close to you. Have you written stories for friends or family, not for publication?

Great question…and great timing. I dare say I am not alone in having memories of both my parents reading to me when I was a small child; the delight of seeing familiar pictures and hearing familiar words being read aloud will endure. The photo at the end of this blog explains why this is great timing...

My favourite book when I was small was Little John Little (photo is of the copy I was read almost sixty years ago, which is still on my bookshelf) which I recall as a jolly tale with jolly pictures, and the evidence in the photo bears out these recollections.

I am still utterly convinced that this is how squirrels really live

My other favourite was the version of Andersen’s Fairy Tales given to me by my Godmother. The stories were read to me, but – for those unfamiliar with the original Andersen tales – let’s just say they were sanitized a little when I was very young, so it wasn’t until I could read them myself that I saw all the pictures and read all the stories. The illustrations are fabulous, and certainly not all of the “chocolate box” variety!

This rather chilling picture accompanies the tale entitled The Nightingale.


This one illustrates The Little Mermaid.


Nowadays I get the chance to read to three of my six grandchildren every Wednesday morning (grandparenting day, when we do the school run). Their favourites are fairy tales too, though these are versions written for today…so much more palatable, though I’m pleased to say that the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk still bellows about “the blood of an Englishman”, which I recall used to draw hoots from the audience in Swansea’s Grand Theatre during pantomime season!

I haven’t written stories that are not for publication, though my mother is still my first reader. As you are reading this, the woman who first introduced me to the joy of reading will be awaiting my arrival at home, in Wales. The photo shows the last time I held her hand…there’ll be a lot more of this over the coming weeks.

When I'm in Wales, we'll also get the chance to celebrate the fact that my book The Corpse with the Iron Will has been shortlisted for the Crime Writers of Canada's Awards of Excellence Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel set in Canada.

I know that Mothers' Day is on the horizon in North America, but I missed being in Wales with Mum for Mothering Sunday, so we'll make up for that too. If Mum hadn't helped make me a reader, I wouldn't have become a writer...thanks, Mum xx

1 comment:

Brenda Chapman said...

I loved the fairy tales too! Have a wonderful visit with your mom, Cathy.