At first, the reason I wanted to write a kids’ book was to get something back that I didn’t realise I’d lost. I missed my imagination, which once upon a time was boundless, totally weird and a little coy. The absence of it niggled at me even if the memory of it was fuzzy: blurry dress-ups, monsters, magic, bedtime stories. There were whole, miniature worlds that I’d given up in favour of being an adult, a job I still don’t think I’m particularly good at.
But then, I don’t think anyone is good at being an adult. We still employ a fraction of those childhood faculties that help us make-believe that we’re grown-up, even if we still feel as though we should be tucked in at night. We’re just as chaotic and unsure as we’ve ever been. The impersonation just improves as you get older.
Doodle cat. Image supplied.
I was lucky enough to stumble across a creative soul mate when I met Doodle Cat’s co-creator, Lauren. Her brain lolloped at the same pace as mine, moving from one idea to the next, more impossible one with total disregard for logic. We both wanted to make better use of our imaginations and accordingly, the silliness was infinite.
We didn’t know anything about putting a children’s book together. We had no lessons, no morals (or at least none that we could honestly offer) and so had little idea of the sort of real world that a kid should be learning about before they officially entered it. Although the book started out as an attempt to get something back, we soon felt as though we just wanted to celebrate how great it is to be a kid and be totally in love with the world.
Co-author Lauren Marriot with Doodle Cat. Image supplied.
As Lauren and I went through the things that gave us such joy as kids, we were reminded how much being an adult can get in the way of pure enjoyment. We should never grow out of laughing at farts (a habit I’m now getting back into), or make ice cream a guilty treat rather than just a treat (any day can be gelato day) or give up on our dreams of hugging a pangolin (I thought about this so hard as a kid I was convinced I’d done it). Doodle Cat is our reminder that what you love shouldn’t become lost in the tension of adulthood. Not to get too heavy-handed with the emotions, but: hearts should be full.
Doodle cat. Image supplied.
Often for kids the world they love also comes with this finite set of rules that really only makes sense to adults. Let’s call it the ‘real world’. Even in those sessions when Lauren and I were only writing a pretend book for an audience that didn’t exist (we had no publisher, no deal; we were Doodle Cat’s only family) we could feel this ‘real world’ bearing down on our story. It seemed as though a kids’ book could only be written within a pre-adult context, one where they needed to know how tough things would get once they grew up, so they could start preparing. As if kids don’t already have an innate sense of how it all works, or perhaps more poignantly: as if adults have a better idea.
Jennifer Garner reads the beautiful bedtime story Go the F**k to Sleep. Post continues after video.
In the end, we made the sensible choice to let Doodle Cat decide. He’s a mad ball of energy that isn’t always best applied, but is always applied with best intentions. The stars, loud drumming (as if there’s a quiet version) and doodling make him happy and they made us happy too. His life is large, even though he’s small. Best of all, he deals strictly in positivity, and big, brave imaginative choices. For me, Doodle Cat is the bit of my childhood I’d like to keep.
You can purchase Doodle Cat here.