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Friday, February 11, 2005

The cradle will rock when the stars are right...

So a little while ago my wife and I are talking about how things will be if/when we start having children, and how I've always dreamed of being the kind of Daddy who reads bedtime stories to the kids before they go to sleep for the night.

"But I don't wanna read 'em stuff like 'The Little Red Hen' a zillion times over and over," I told her. "That got old fast. By the time they're five or six I'm thinking something like tucking them into bed and then reading The Call of Cthulhu to them."

I'm not kidding.

She's never read Lovecraft so she's got NO idea what I'm talking about. And she would probably have a restraining order to keep me away from Baby if she did know. But she didn't say "no" so guess that's a de facto "yes" right?

Telling y'all here and now: our kids are gonna grow up in a house that's something else...


Anonymous said...

You would read H.P. Lovecraft to a 5 year old?

What kind of sick twisted f***ed-up deranged mind would even think of doing something like that?Damn I love you for wanting to do this! But don't encourage your kid to pronounce "Cthulhu" or "R'lyeh" okay?

Chris Knight said...

Heh-heh... yeah that really does look like I'm inviting them to taste the first fruits of insanity doesn't it? :-P So long as I steer away from reading The Rats in the Walls to them they should be fine.

Speaking of which, a few years ago on a camping trip with the Boy Scouts (I'm an assistant scoutmaster) I had the boys gather around one night with only the soft glow of the campfire for illumination. I took out a small light and read The Rats in the Walls to them. Hee-hee-hee... don't think anyone of 'em slept that night :-P

Well, at the tender age of seven I was already reading full-length novels like Dracula, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Robinson Crusoe. The summer between second and third grade, since we lived way out in the country with no other kids to play with and out of boredom, I read the World Book Encyclopedia. The entire encyclopedia from A-Z. Was blessed to have had a kindergarten teacher who really knew how to teach us to read (phonics is the way to go dudes). By the time we were in third grade most of us were reading at the level of high school seniors.

Point being that I was a voracious reader of literature and knowledge but it wasn't 'til high school and college that I started finding things that appealed to my imagination bigtime. I'd heard of Lovecraft for years but finally started reading his stuff during my second year at Elon. The Call of Cthulhu and At the Mountains of Madness are stories that I wish I could have read as a six-year old! Who knows: maybe my imagination could have developed much more alongside my critical thinking if those had been available (but how many six-year olds do know who Lovecraft is, much less convinced their parents to buy a book of his stuff for them?)

If you have, or ever have children, encourage them to read far beyond what's expected of their age level, 'cuz they do understand a lot more concepts than we give 'em credit for. And in a very simple, undiluted mindset that most people lose in their adult years, sad to say. Crazy as this sounds but just about everything of my adult philosophies come from a few books I read across the space of a year my junior and senior years of high school: To Kill a Mockingbird, Ender's Game, Fahrenheit 451, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Lord of the Rings, and all six of the Dune novels. Dune and Tolkien's stuff really opened my eyes to a lot of things especially.

Who knows what they would have opened to if some Lovecraft books were laying around :-)