Continuing our Kiwi theme, today Books and Adventures is joined by New Zealand author and editor Raymond Huber with a guest post on ‘The Physics of Reading’. A skier, teacher, apiculturist and all-round adventurer, Raymond is currently in Australia promoting his novel for junior readers, Wings.
‘The universe is made of stories, not atoms’ (Muriel Rukeyser). There’s truth in the poet’s words: the universe is only 4% atoms while the rest (mysterious dark stuff) has barely been fathomed. Some scientists believe the universe is geared towards the development of mind – ‘The universe is aboutsomething’ (Paul Davies, physicist) . That’s why I think stories matter.
Consider the mental energy of reading for children. ‘When reading takes place, the brain is forever changed’ (Maryanne Wolf). Reading forges new neural pathways which then become available for innovative thinking. One reason for this is that reading a book encourages the brain to be active in constructing and imagining the story. Imagination is like the electromagnetic force which has infinite range. It’s the force behind the great children’s books. In the Moomin stories for example, Tove Jansson imagines a fantasy world populated with endearing creatures such as brave Moomintroll and the shocking Hattifatteners.
>I’ve just got back from Norway after a week working on a project about Edvard Munch, the guy who painted The Scream.
I’ve been working with Dr. Steffen Krüger on an article which brings together Munch, cartoons and modern architecture. When I wasn’t wandering around museums or trying to find the right words at Steffen’s desk, I had a bit of free time and decided to try cross-country skiing.
Now, I used to be a mountain-boarder and I’ve tried snowboarding and sandboarding too. (Sandboarding down giant dunes might be the best thing ever). But I’ve never, ever, in my life, been on skis before.
Everything I ever learned about skiing came from the James Bond films – especially the one where he skis off the edge of a cliff.
I didn’t quite make it into James Bond’s league. I think I fell over eight hundred times in eight kilometres. (He only fell once, plus it was deliberate and he had a parachute).
(This was a particularly good fall).
The whole thing was great fun, but seriously embarrassing.
I was being taught to ski by a woman who once got told that she skied like a penguin.
She was cool, though, and penguins are too, so really it’s all my fault. Also, she’s an illustrator who I’m planning a new children’s book with, so I’m not about to complain about her ski teaching!
When I wasn’t falling on my face or writing about art at midnight, I also put in a short entry for Hilobrow’s ‘Golden Age Superhumans’ micro-fiction competition. It’s about 200 words, and probably only funny for grown-ups old enough to remember Simon and Garfunkel…You can find it here.
There are photos of my ski shame – they will be on this site soon.
The sad truth is I can’t wait to get back on the skis when I get the chance.
Perhaps this will result in a comedy video. I will share it if it happens.
Until then, keep reading!
With love from Norway’s fourth most popular comedy skier,