All About Lum
At every author Q&A, I am asked how I come up with stories and specifically what inspired Lum. There are two replies to that. The short (fun) version which I give to children who ask. And the long (more emotionally-charged) version. Today, I’ll share both and your can choose your favourite. If you only want the fun version, scroll down to the photo of houses below.
My first experience of bullies was at age 7 or 8. My friend, Anna, and I were playing in our local park. The day before, we’d been there with my big brother and Anna’s older siblings (she was one of seven). Together we’d built a den in an old concrete tunnel. We’d lined it with grass, made it homely in the way kids do. But on this day, when it was just Anna and me, some older kids came over. They told us it was their den. That we had to take everything out. Then they told us to take off our shoes. I was all for doing what I was told, rather than being hit – it was that sort of conversation, but my wise friend said ‘no’. She told me later that had we taken our shoes off, those kids would have thrown them away, and we would have to go home to tell our Mums why we had no shoes.
One day at the swimming pool with my brother and my Dad, I was behaving completely out of character by loitering in the deep end, holding on tight to the edge because I was not a good swimmer. Dad wanted to know why and got out of me that the noisy kids in the shallow end had been bullying me. He had a word with them right there in the pool and that was the end of being scared by those kids.
I had completely forgotten about the time I was bullied. But memories don’t completely leave us, lurking in the back of our brains to surprise us later in life when they surge to the front triggered by a fresh experience.
The Short Version