When we are children, we have a tranquil acceptance of mystery which is driven out of us later on, by curiosity and education and experience. But it is possible to find one's way back. With affection and respect, I disagree totally with Penelope Lively's conviction about the 'absolute impossibility of recovering a child's vision. ' There _are_ ways, imperfect, partial, fleeting, of looking again at a mystery through the eyes we used to have. Children are not different animals. They are us, not yet wearing our heavy jacket of time.
She had that thing most people don't have - curiosity. She might not have always got the right answers, but she wanted to ask the questions. It's very hard if you are interested in ideas and all that, ideas and the philosophies of the past, it's very hard to find someone around here to really talk to. That's the tragedy of the thing really I mean, when you think about it. Certainly I can't find anyone around here to talk to anymore. And for a woman it's even harder you see. They can feel very trapped - because of the patriarchy. I do feel everyone needs to have these little chats now and then.
I have known plenty of people who, in their later years, had the energy of children and the kind of curiosity and fascination with things like little children. I think we can keep that, and I think it's important to keep that part of staying young. But I also think it's great fun growing old.
Experimental novels are sometimes terribly clever and very seldom read. But the story that appeals to the child sitting on your knee is the one that satisfies the curiosity we all have about what happened then, and then, and then. This is the final restriction put on the technique of telling a story. A basic thing called story is built into the human condition. It's what we are; it's something to which we react.