Today is my stop on the Dad You’ve Trumpedblog tour and I am here today with a guest post from Andrew Rogerson.
Title: Dad You’ve Trumped Author: Andrew Rogerson Publisher: Clink Street Publishing Published: 14th May 2020 Format: Paperback Source:: N/A Add It:Waterstones. Goodreads. Summary: This is the story of how a dad tries to explain away his moments of flatulent indiscretion to his daughter Poppy who is five. These are real moments. They are real excuses!
Writing About Your Life in a Fictional Way
What it was like writing about your own life in a fictional way?
I’m not sure I have written about my life in a fictional way. The Poppy and dad books are a kind of memoir. The things I am writing about me and Poppy did happen and writing about those memories is my way of remembering and preserving them. When she was growing up Poppy was a great daughter who was really fun to be around. She was like a sponge. There are so many pictures and videos of her just watching what was going on around her open mouthed as though she was slowly computing, trying to make sense of what was just said or what had just happened. We used to say that she lived in Poppy world. Best of all she allowed me to act. I’ve always enjoyed acting and she was always too polite to tell me to stop! She was my own personal, portable audience. It is hard to watch your children grow up and lose their innocent childish view on the world. Especially when it’s the youngest. I suppose the saying that children keep you young is true and so when they grow up they remind you that you are also getting older! Also, we want to shield them and protect them from so much and that’s how I felt with Poppy. But there is that inevitable moment of realisation when you realise you can’t stop that process. So I guess that thinking about and writing about things that happened are your way of processing memories, preserving childhood. It’s quite a selfish thing.
Writing about your life in a fictional way is interesting because it can be both literal and metaphorical. What I mean is that you are ‘literally’ writing about a memory, something that really happened but the emotions attached can make the moment represent something quite different and can be ascribed to a whole string of perceived events, memories and emotions. Like the strands on a spider’s web. And of course it’s all about perception because one person’s memory of the same event is tempered and moulded by other experiences and so that event might come to represent something entirely different.
This first book in the series is the story about how a dad tries to explain away his moments of flatulent indiscretion to his five year old daughter. The characters are me and Poppy and there is no getting away from that. These were all real moments. They are all real excuses. Each moment however represents the bond between us, a secret camaraderie which was only broken when Poppy snitched to mum! But even then she would look me in the eye with a knowing gaze and watch me squirm. At some point I produced a book for Poppy based on these occasions using family photographs. I’m sure Poppy really enjoyed seeing herself in a ‘book’. Although I remember her saying “Dad!” in that way that affectionately expresses both amusement and distaste. I love that. And then she enjoyed seeing herself being turned into a cartoon by the amazing illustrator, Christopher Dodd.
This is the first picture Chris produced and it sums her personality and character up perfectly; glasses edging to the end of her nose, the inquisitive eyebrows; the friendly smile.
In a way the pictures have an autobiographical slant too because our family knew Chris and his family as both he and Poppy were growing up. I knew he enjoyed illustration but when he showed me some of his pictures from university I knew it was the style I wanted for our books. We discussed the childrens’ books we had enjoyed reading as we were growing up as well as the concept of intertextuality. We wanted to pay tribute to some of these illustrators and authors by envisaging the world as Poppy might have seen it. This is not just Poppy world though. I think the illustrations and the story together, of two people, a dad and his daughter, paint a picture of a safe happy place which exists between any father and daughter and is too easily forgotten about in the purported darker times we live in.
About the Author
Andrew is 52 and lives near Liverpool with his wife and family. He has always loved theatre and music and runs a youth theatre for The Arts Project based in Widnes, Cheshire. He sometimes plays double bass in a band called The Chimps. His youngest daughter is the subject of the books in the Poppy and Dad series of books.