Tag Archives: education

“Ten Things About Writing” by Joanne Harris


Joanne Harris knows a thing or two about writing, as a world renown author and the Chair of the Society of Authors. I was delighted to discover her book about writing. I love it when people are generous in sharing their knowledge.

The book will take you into the insights of the writing process from start to the publication and beyond. It will unveil the secrets of what makes a story, characterisation and detailing. And it is all written with honesty and no-non-sense. Joanne is incredibly encouraging towards aspiring writers: “Remember, … , that just writing is an act of bravery. You have the courage to do what it takes to give your voice the chance to be heard. Don’t do it because you want to be the next J.K. Rowling, or Maya Angelou, or Margaret Atwood. Those are already taken. Do it because your voice is unique. Only you can take this chance. No one else will ever be you, or tell your story the way you can”.

After this book, I also realized that I am more demanding as a reader. Joanne is right. If after 10 pages I am not fully absorbed by the story or if the author states the obvious (“the rain is wet” ), I will close the book and look for something else to read.

Children’s lawyer


When do we stop being our kids’ lawyers? And why?A

My friends know that no matter what I am a kids’ pro bono lawyer on a 24/24, seven days a week duty.

My colleague was upset. At his daycare, her four year son drew a picture of him in future. It was a black painting with couple of squares underneath and a sketch for a human being. „Shall I take this to a psychoanalyst?!”. She looked determined. Relieved she did not say “shrink”!

”Why?” I asked in dismay. „Have you asked him, your son, what he meant to draw?” . „Yes, in the morning”.

„And?”. „He told me the black was for the smoke from a huge fire, and the squares are firefighter trucks and the boy is him in the future, a firefighter!”.

„See, I told her, no need for a psychoanalyst. All you need is to ask him. And I think he is altruistic, concerned about others’ needs, generous and used black/bold to draw attention to danger.”

There was a momentary mental shift in her head, on this occasion at least, I hope.

Children give back what they get or they raise above. Have no expectations of them being our lawyers in due time, if we have not exemplified this role ourselves.

My child is very quick in ordering her father to kiss me. The other day, he asked her to tell me to kiss him.  She made a gesture saying there is nothing I can do 🙂

« Treaties on parents and children » by Bernard Shaw


My next book choice from my “To Read All Nobel Prize for Literature” project took me to the world of Bernard Shaw.

One hundred years later, George Bernard Shaw’s Treaties on parents and children (1914) may still challenge quite a few minds and ‚values’. So get ready for a mental earthquake, if a combination of dramatic, comic and socially corrective attitudes are not an usual spot for you, as a reader.

His ability to capture the essence of parents- children relations with no hypocrisy attached is what made me an immediate fan. Much comes from his childhood.”A benefit to the child may be a burden to the parent, but people become attached to their burdens sometimes more than burdens are attached to them, and to ‚suffer little children’ has become an affectionate impulse deep in our nature”.

In the book, and as one can see from his biography, he is a fierce advocate of children’ rights and the essence of his beliefs about children is that a child is an experiment, not of parents, but of the Life Force. He asks for Sense, not Logic, in dealing with children. You’ll find a call there for a ‚Child’s Magna Carta’ determined by the English realities back then, which is valid even today given global realities.

It’s amazing how a piece written one hundreds years ago still resonates with what is happening in the today’s education system in many, if not the majority of, places on earth. But I assume this is what it’s called a work of a genius. I would say it’s a must read piece for any minister of education and all school masters.  His quote ‚Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not ” says quite a lot and, from what the ‚Treaties’ illustrates, in a plurality of areas and topics.

If in doubt about this piece’s modernity, read this: „As I write these lines, the Home Secretary is explaining that a man who has been imprisoned for blasphemy must not be released because his remarks were painful to the feelings of his pious fellow townsmen” and will capture immediately the parallel with what happened to Pussy Riot in Russia in the year 2012.

It’s a book to revisit on many accounts and concepts: what is perfection, human rights, christianity, learning, knowledge, freedom, tolerance, breastfeeding, women emancipation, mother-in-law behaviour  explained, power of human will, art education, religous education etc.

And yes, Shaw can make a show even hundreds years later, with genuinity and love.