Time seemed such an unimportant item for the little storyteller.

Time was never relative when it came to dreaming the dreams of which stories are made.

Stories are words that drift in and out of the memory box, they bounce around inside the head

to make the fingers expose them into print.

A whole age had drifted by while the little storyteller’s mind floundered in the land of ordinaryness.

The little storyteller enjoyed a merry chuckle, there were some who might say there was no such word as, ordinaryness, but of course there was, simply because this was storytelling.

Then one day the little storyteller walked out of the foggy land of ordinaryness, the mist lifted to reveal that he had entered a new, and wonderful world, quiet different to the one in which his mind had been living all these ordinary years.

As the new world unfolded before him, the little storyteller stood in wonder before a huge, enormousness of what could only be a magical transparent bubble.
A bubble of such magnitude it seemed ever so much bigger than the foggy land he had left behind,

Inside the bubble the little storyteller could see a marvellous collage of pictures, works of art, shapes, designs, creativity en masse.

Soon the letters of the alphabet came drifting into vision, swirling, turning until some did lock together to form whole words, that spoke to him through the transparent wall of the giant bubble.

The word ‘Happy’ came floating by, next ‘Love’ popped into view, a whirlpool of letters turned into ‘Understanding’,and the little storyteller was sure he heard the letters laughing when they staggered over each other to finally spell…. ‘Beer’.

Surely the letters were expressing their boundless joy of the freedom to manufacture unrestricted and emotive language.

The little storyteller knew that here was a world in which he wished to enter and experience all the creative joys it had to offer.

The flashing sign above the front door read, “EVERYBODY WELCOME”.

The little man, dressed in a bright red uniform, and standing next to the entrance said,
‘If you wish to come inside my friend you must first sign the big book’, and with that he handed the little storyteller a giant pen and pot of ink clearly marked, "DO NOT DRINK- BOOK SIGNING ONLY.’

The little storyteller laughed and laughed then asked, ‘Do some who come really wish to drink the ink?’

‘Some believe it to be magic ink with special powers of creativity,’ replied the red uniform, ‘and everything is possible once you enter the bubble. One gentleman told me, good quality ink adds colour to expression and is food for thought. With that he sucked the inky end of his pen.’

The little man proudly turned the pages of the huge book, ‘Must be millions of names in this book sir, please sign here on the next line, and show your occupation.’
They call me the, ‘Keeper of the bubble book’, sir …and I see you be telling us you are a storyteller is that correct sir?
Then without waiting for an answer he hurried on to say,
‘Good to see a writer coming to join our family sir, we have mountains of photographers, the place is fair crawling with painters of every size and dimension, there are times sir, when writers seem rather thin on the creative turf, but I say that is because it takes them ever so much longer to create a piece of work.’

‘Pray tell me kind sir,’ asked the little storyteller, ‘what must I do when I enter inside the bubble?’

‘Well now,’ said the uniform, ‘there are lots of different doors inside the bubble sir,… so I need to know what is your preferred genre of storytelling?’

‘Oh definitely anything humourous, light and verging upon fantasy. Words to stimulate the imagination of both the child and the adults, who with age, did not allow the joys of childhood to wither and die within their souls.’

‘In that case sir, I would be telling you, straight through the entrance, take the first turn to the right and look for a black door, then knock and wait for permission to enter.’

‘How funny, must I really wait for permission to enter?’

‘Indeed you do sir, many of the other doors sit ajar and toss out the welcome mat, but in this particular room sir, the one with the black door, they are, sad to say, a most fastidious lot complete with a stern set of rules, which if you do not wish to experience their wrath, you are well advised to abide by sir. They are a powerful triumvirate, just one word that does not meet their strict criterion sir and they are enthusiastically willing to chop you off in the prime of creativity.’

‘You amaze me Mr. Keeper, I was under the impression that the bubble was such an invigorating, fun place, that within certain social norms encouraged freedom of expression.’

’Indeed it is… and does, that is why there are some who feel they also have an almost divine right to exert their own special form of dictatorial, censorship.

Like they say in the good books sir, that is life, and when one door shuts so another will open.’

And with that final word of encouragement, the book keeper, opened the door, doffed his hat,made a gracious theatrical bow and invited the little storyteller to enter.

Sure enough, turn right , walk straight past the red, yellow and blue doors, there at the end of the writers passage was the imposing black door, where the little storyteller read the message,
“knock and await permission to enter”…….
So he did as bid, then quietly said, ’ Abracadabarra’ in the fond hope that it just might work in these modern times, remarkably he then witnessed the smooth sound of an opening door.

Maybe it was distance, darkness or a combination of both but , the little storyteller never saw the faceless trio, they were but shadows, with soft illuminated name plaques.
As the Book-Keeper had whispered to him on the way through the entrance, these fastidious folk had given themselves special names, just for them and them alone.

There was…The Good ….The Wise and The Wonderful.

The Good asked, ’are you a painter?

‘No, I am a little storyteller.’

‘Humph,’ snorted The Wise, ‘What kind of stories do you tell?’

‘Oh definitely anything humourous, light and verging upon fantasy. Words to stimulate the imagination of both the child and the adults, who with age, did not allow the joys of childhood to wither and die within their souls.’

’ Alright,’ said Wonderful, ‘tell us a story then and we shall decide if we like you or not.’

The little storyteller thought for a moment which would be one of his best stories to tell, then having made a decision, took a deep breath before saying,

‘Once upon a time….’

‘Stop, stop,’ demanded Wise, ‘We do not allow the word, ’once’, that is too confusing for children, they will have the present mixed up with the past, if we allow you to go around writing, once upon a time.’

‘Yes, I agree,’ said Good, ‘why, gracious me, we do not know what time it is anyway, do you not agree Wonderful, all very stupidly confusing to have children not to be told the correct time.’

‘Well,’ said the Wise, ‘Maybe you would like to tell us a different story only this time remember not to use confusing words.’

‘Thank you,’ replied the little storyteller, I will do my very best to comply with the wishes of the Good, the Wise and the Wonderful….So let me think….

’It was as quiet as a mouse in a house, when the clock chimed one, in the dead of the night…..

‘Stop, stop at once’, screamed the Wise without even realising he had said the dreaded once word.

‘Quiet so,’ roared the Good, ‘We never allow the word dead in children’s stories. There is a horrible finality about that word that can induce terror in the minds of impressionable young children.’

‘Alright,’ suggested Wonderful, ‘we always allow three chances tell us another of your tales, little storyteller and this time I warn you to take great care with what you say.’

Once more the little storyteller produced his thinking cap…….

‘The wicked witch of the gingerbread house, lit the huge oven and prepared to cook poor little Hansel. The witch drooled with the memory of the day when they all journeyed to laugh at what remained of Mr, Humpty Dumpty after being all smashed to pieces, then, for even more enjoyment they hurried to see the big bad wolf gobble up little Red Riding Hood’s bed-ridden granny, that was smashing that was, the witch gave an evil cackle , rubbing her bony talons together with sadistic glee, while thinking, when I put all this into print, it will give the little kiddies something to laugh at and keep them happy.’

‘Very exciting,’ clapped the Wise.

‘Excellent,’ chortled the Good.

‘Wundervoll,’ exclaimed the Wonderful with much joviality.

‘Oh I am so sorry, your worships that you did not like my earlier stories, because the tale I just related for your pleasure is a combination of other famous children’s stories, often I believe read to little children just prior to going to sleep.

The tales I create are all about happiness, fun and laughter. Tales of life and enjoyment in
contemporary Australia, where people openly enjoy their culture. Living tales that centre around both the very young to those entering second childhood.

I am told that the recommended reading age for Harry Potter, starts around seven or eight and runs all the way up to a one hundred and six.

Certainly it does with my favourite author, Terry Pratchett, OBE, who has written well over forty bestselling books, which come highly recommended for both young children and those adults with a mischievous playful mind.
I fear such tales would never, receive your worships stamp of approval, to gain acceptance.’

‘Humph!’ snorted the Wise, ‘there are plenty of doors, take your tales elsewhere.’

‘Yes, I could do that,’ replied the little storyteller. ‘But I wish to submit stories that amuse and interest children of all ages, hence running away would not be a solution….It would just be a way of avoidance.’

The little storyteller started to weep…

‘Are you crying because we do not like your tales?’ questioned the Good.

‘No I am not crying for me, I am crying for the thousands of children, both young and ancient that reside within this space where I am but a visitor.
Because of your narrow, very personal interpretations of what children should be allowed to read they are denied much pleasure that is freely offered to them.’

‘Ah, I see,’ said The Wonderful.

‘True,’ remarked the little storyteller, ’ but do you only see what you wish to see…that is the question.’

‘What would you suggest then ?’ asked The Good.

’Well you could change the sign on the door to read, “Bedtime stories for little Babies.”
The current title “Stories for Children”…. is a misnomer …..Maybe it should read “Stories for Very Few Children.”

‘What good would that do?’ demanded The Wise

‘It would remove your need to object to what you consider to be the objectionable and at the same time, obstruct you from being positively insulting to your loyal readers.’ answered the little storyteller.

‘Oh how very rude of you to say such a hurtful comment,’ protested all three with one voice.

The little storyteller, laughed at their pained expressions….

’Every time you censor a story, because in your narrow opinion it contains, something that does not please your worships, you are in effect insulting your adult readers by the implication, that those readers are not intelligent enough to assess words of their own choosing.

Every time you reject a work that has been submitted, not on the grounds that it contains, " Erotica, vituperation, or insalubrious content," but on rather spurious thinking that, some perfectly innocent and innocuous subject matter, which is part of everyday acceptable lifestyle for people of all ages, does not measure up to your particular brand of standards, you openly insult the author of that work.’

‘Storytelling never appears out of nothing, it is the evidence of creative thought, that should at no time be dismissed lightly. The grounds for non-acceptance should be simple and robust.
They should never rely upon sanctimonious consideration.’

The faceless shadows became a whimpering vortex, from which emerged a pleading supplication.
‘Please, please, tell us that we are fiction, that we do not exist, that we are simply a figment of your imagination.’

The little storyteller, quietly said, ‘Once upon a time…….’
Then drifted away on upon a cloud of happiness.

There is a marvellous story called, “Shamus Of The Leaf.” by Kalaryder… on RB.

A beautiful, well researched fictional tale set in the times of ancient Ireland.
A tale which I sincerely hope one day will be expanded into a book.
This is a tale for both adults and children alike and I highly recommend that it be placed upon the “Must Read” list.

Sadly because “Shamus Of The Leaf.” is based upon recorded history and as such features Druids, strange gods, runes, folks who carry weapons and { shudder…shudder } drink ale.
This tale would never be accepted by the group ‘Art & Stories for Children’…..who advertise, they seek stories for children, up to the age of eleven.

Pity the poor twelve year old who can not claim to be a teenager, and presumably is abandoned in a child’s literary limbo.

The group desires stories that, after their dictatorial censorship, would meet their own personal criterion of what a child should be allowed to read, not necessarily what a child would enjoy reading….Therein lies the difference.

One rule says, “No weapons in any shape or form”. Whoever dreamt that doosey up must eat with their fingers….But then even hands and feet under certain circumstances may become weapons.

There are of course times when some writers do cross the line of propriety and deserve to be rejected……But all too often the grounds are based upon vacuous puerility.
I quote from one explanation given for rejection : “the reasons being mainly due to the amber beverage(assuming u are talking of beer) “. This refered to sober adults enjoying a social moment in the local pub.

You know the dictionary message for moderators reads: “not extreme or excessive; within due or reasonable demands”….
Poor old “Clappers”, who is read and enjoyed, by quite a few children I know,………. is sometimes accepted by the group, and then also sadly, sometimes times rejected.

Sob, sob…the inconsistency is not just ludicrous and pathetic, but downright farcical.


iAN Derrick

Tweed Heads, Australia

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 15

Artist's Description

A few days ago a very talented, good friend of mine, had his work rejected upon the most flimsy and spurious of grounds. Being a kind gentle soul, he absorbed his disappointment.

The one small flaw in what is the perfect Red Bubble, is that groups are allowed to enforce non-acceptance rules, that are based upon someone’s personal vacuous perception of desirability.

“In our opinion your work does not meet the expectation we are seeking.”……or words to that effect.

Such is the power of the little tin gods.

All groups in any society must have rules….good rules.

When the basics become swamped by personal perception rules, the end result is to so stifle the creativity, as to make the work become irrelevant.

I do believe……..

RED BUBBLE was designed to encourage and enhance creativity not to strangle it at birth.

Artwork Comments

  • kalaryder
  • Matt Mawson
  • iAN Derrick
  • Mark Bateman
  • iAN Derrick
  • Jeannette Sheehy
  • iAN Derrick
  • © Karin Taylor
  • iAN Derrick
  • Matthew Dalton
  • iAN Derrick
  • Matthew Dalton
  • iAN Derrick
  • rain-dogs
  • iAN Derrick
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