My son is really into fighting. He watches shows like Power Rangers and Ninjago. He likes superheroes and video games. I think his favorite thing right now is to watching Daddy guide Link through a boss level in a Zelda game. (Fortunately for Daddy, the games are very forgiving). I think that he might be… resolving something? Working something out, mentally and emotionally? Maybe it empowers him to see the snake people get beat? I dunno. I know he likes fighting and no stern look or lecture from me is going to change it.
Of course he wants books about fighting, but apart from uninspired picture books derived from superhero movies, the children’s book industry has been derelict in providing books featuring hand-to-hand combat for kids like B.
See a need; fill a need. I’ve tried, in fits and starts, to create characters that fight, and to give them monsters to fight, but I lapse back into my muddled view of the universe. The monsters in my imagination develop a point of view; not one I particularly agree with but one I can at least comprehend. The heroes are timid and do a lot of soul searching instead of slaying. They argue with the monsters but never raise a blade. By the end of chapter 3 they’ve become friends and have no antagonist to deal with.
This whole business is against my grain. I lack moral certainty. I am against violence, having been on the wrong end of it. At the same time, I can see the satisfaction to calling up your fears and giving it form and cutting its head off. From Beowulf to Star Wars, that’s a story form that will never go out of fashion. I think humans crave it, and especially little ones. Oh, it’s, you know. Profitable. Cough.
But I can’t do it. I don’t know why. It looks easy. Walk on the muscled hero, have him say something clever. Walk on the snarling beast. Have it spit and snarl. “He swung his sword and pierced the wretched creature’s neck.” Fanfare and big advances. The end.
I’ll keep trying. You know, for the kid.