In the first of a new series where we ask artists and performers about how some of their most famous work happened, we talk to celebrated author Lynley Dodd.
An awful lot of my books have originated in actual happenings. [The ideas book] is an old publisher’s blank dummy so I write down anything that tends to take my fancy, even news items on the radio can give you ideas. Like the one that went round for a while saying that penguins all fall over when aeroplanes go over – [I had] visions of domino penguins all over the Antarctic. It’s that silly sort of thing that sets me off and quite a few of my books have happened like that.
Hairy Maclary’s Bone began that way when I was buying the week’s meat for the family at the butcher in Lower Hutt.
In those days you could park across the road from the butcher shop. I had got back in the car and looked across at the butcher shop door just sort of thinking of other things and suddenly I saw a dog walking away from the door with a great string of bones and meat hanging from its mouth.
Obviously the butcher had been very kind and as he carted it off up the road looking very pleased with himself I thought, “yes, are you going to get home without your friends actually getting hold of that meat?”, and it was then that a little lightbulb went off in my head and I thought, “oh, there’s the idea for Hairy number two”.
That’s what happened.