Childrens’ author Emily Child is a child at heart
You describe yourself as a daydreamer – which I love – I am too. How does that come out in your books and more specifically in Listen to Your Diddalum?
I like to daydream about what a feeling looks like. I often wonder what my anger would look like in a drawing or an image. I like to imagine what a laugh would feel like if you could hug it. This book is an exploration of what instinct, looks, feels and sounds like, to every unique human. I am in awe of how artists, like Maria Lebedeva are able to interpret these descriptions and expose the world inside my head!
Is a Diddalum different things to different people, or is there a specific way you would describe it?
Every person has their very own Diddalum. It will feel and look completely different to anyone else’s. What every Diddalum has in common is that it is the purest expression of who that individual is. It is their “voice inside” that knows what is best for that person. It is there to remind people what they love and why they do what they do. It is there to keep people honest with themselves and never compromise their core values.
Sometimes little children can feel big feelings and possibly not find it so easy to find their way around them. I get the impression that Listen to Your Diddalum is a book that might help kids deal with this, but I would rather hear your description of what the book’s about?
This book is about learning to recognize what the “you” inside feels, looks and sounds like. It is encouraging children (and adults too!) to find a specific image or feeling for the part of themselves that guides them to make decisions and responds to their environment. It is about recognizing that “Diddalum”, trusting it and using it as a tool to navigate this complicated planet. Our Diddalum is our source of courage, love and honesty. It reminds us who we are and what is most important to us.
Where did the inspiration to write Listen to Your Diddalum come from?
When my sister and I were little, and feeling anxious, upset or just not quite ourselves our Grandmother – we called her Gugs -would put us on her lap, bob us up and down and sing us The Diddalum Song. It made me feel safe, loved, brave and ready to face whatever was worrying me. As I got older, and had to face difficult personal and professional decisions and situations, I began searching for a specific image for the “gut response “ people always told me about. I needed something a bit more specific than “follow your heart “. I wanted to name that instinctual feeling in a way that mattered to me. I wanted a name for the thing that made me sure I wanted to be an actor and confident of my place in the world. I started to call that “inner voice” my Diddalum.I would often ask myself what my Diddalum would do in a certain moment and I always got the answer that was right for me! I wrote this book to share my understanding of my Diddalum as a tool for other people. My hope is that families will use the knowledge of their own Diddalums to start conversations, address certain worries and uncertainties and find hidden strength. I hope that it can help children discover what they love and what matters most to them and guide them through each day with passion and conviction.
Where can kids and their parents buy the book?
They can buy the book on the Imagnary House Website! They will deliver it to your home! Here is the link: https://imagnaryhouse.com/
I love the fact that you’re an author as well as an actress. It’s probably like asking you to pick between your children, but do you have a favourite?
That is a tough one indeed! I find the two work together beautifully! My experience with live performance helps me when I do book readings and talks at schools. Children keep you on your toes as an actor! When writing I try to keep my images clear and specific. This is inspired by the amount of clarity and detail that goes into creating a single moment on stage or in film. Connecting with my wild imagination and the sense of wonder I feel when writing for children makes sure that in the acting world, I never take myself too seriously.
How have you found the lockdown, particularly in terms of your own creativity?
I found it very tough initially, as I had a few acting jobs cancelled due to the Lockdown. But as a result, I have had a lot more time to write! It has been therapeutic and challenging and has reminded me how much of writing is, like acting, about practice and experimentation. I hope to keep these writing habits in place after restrictions ease.
What would you say to kids who would like to write or act themselves one day – how should they get started?
Firstly, they must be sure that it is something they are willing to work at every day! Acting and writing require constant practice! If their Diddalum is telling them (like mine did), that in every day without acting or writing, there is a little hole in their universe, they must listen! They must act or write! Or both! I recommend starting with a single speech, or a single sentence and the knowledge that they can inspire the world!
Where can we follow you on social media to hear more about what you’re up to?
I am on Facebook as Emily Child. On twitter I am @SIVERCHILD and on Instagram I am emilychild5
Do you have anything further you’d like to add?
Thank you for supporting art and artists the way you do!
Listen to your diddalum and buy the book here!