A writer who has influenced me

April 8, 2014 at 8:46 am

A friend recently mentioned that writing about authors who have influenced me was a good idea. I had a think about the ones that have and decided that the first to do so was this lady:
Enid Blyton
Can anyone out there relate? How many times did you read the Famous Five series? I can remember trying to collect them all, only managing to find number 18 (I think that was the last one I got) just as I started to grow out of them. They gave me so much reading pleasure for years. I don’t think I can underestimate the amount of influence she had on me.
Liking her work also led to my first encounter with the vitriol some authors receive. My grade five teacher considered Enid Blyton to be the worst writer in history and she regularly criticised her in class. She was a lady who knew how to speak hurtful words, so her hatred was difficult to miss.
It led to an unpleasant incident in the classroom. She declared that we all needed to do reviews on a book we had borrowed from the school library. She cast her baleful eye on each student, one at a time, demanding to know what book they had borrowed recently. If a child said they hadn’t borrowed a book, she narrowed her eyes and said, “I’ll call the library in a minute and check.”
I was terrified, because I had just started on the Secret Seven series, and I knew that meant I would experience her wrath. I knew lying would be no good, so when she came to me, I said in a small voice, “Secret Seven –”
Fortunately, she turned and addressed the class. “Oh, I don’t want any of you reading Enid Blyton books. None of hers. Definitely not. Borrow another one, Lynne.” She went on to the next student and I breathed a sigh of relief.
I asked my father what it was about Enid Blyton that made my teacher hate her. He said that some people just had a problem with her. They apparently thought that if you read her books you’d never read anyone else’s. That certainly hasn’t been true with me. In fact, this statement is so ridiculous I wonder if something else was involved. Was it jealousy? Possibly. Was it just that people felt she was a bad writer? Maybe. Whatever the case, there is no doubt that Enid Blyton is, in a large way, responsible for my own writing career. If it hadn’t been for the way she had entertained me when I was a child, I might not have started writing my own stories.

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