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2005-Nov-18: High in the Clouds

Sir Paul met with Chicago Sun Times reporter Miriam Di Nunzio, to discuss his new children's books High in the Clouds:

"It's been something like a 10-year process, and I only mention that because I realize there's been a spate of celebrity children's books recently, and I suddenly realized, oh God, we're falling into that pool. But we started it 10 years ago with the idea that the story would be a one-off, animated film. Along the way, a publisher I'd worked with before said our story had the makings of a classic children's book, so we stopped writing a script and did a mockup of a proper book.

" It's really more for 7- or 8-year-olds. For the younger children I suppose the pictures are very pretty for them to look at, but the story might a bit much for them to understand. I felt I needed to say something specifically to children. It's not something that I'd be doing otherwise. [Laughs.] I mean, it's not something I do for a living. It's the whole Disney thing. I'm a huge fan of the Disney animated films. They always had a message. Take Bambi as an example. I grew up always thinking the hunters were baddies, and I still think that. Hunting is a senseless practice and barbaric. People like Walt Disney had a lot to do with that sensibility, that whole message that hunting is bad, that you shouldn't go around willfully shooting animals. Linda and I were always together on the view that it's good to have respect for animals. I don't like to preach, but I wanted that message to be in my story. Disney wasn't preaching in Bambi. All you hear is a gunshot, and you know something bad has come from that. You carry that message with you always."

Does Sir Paul read to Beatrice?

" I don't really want to talk about my new baby -- even though I could go on about her for five weeks if given the chance -- because she needs her privacy, you know? But I did read the [Chronicles of] Narnia books [by C.S. Lewis] to my other children. I loved to do it."

Does he agree with the critics that say they see hints of Yellow Submarine in the book?

" I didn't spot Submarine in the book, I must say, or any surrealism for that matter. I think that was said by a critic who hasn't read the book."

What is more difficult - writing a children's book or writing music?

[Laughing.] "Writing a children's book is much harder than writing music because I've had more practice at the latter. But they're both fascinating. I just like the creative process. It's all a matter of problem solving in a sense. Doing a song like Eleanor Rigby - I'm starting off that it's an old lady, then it moves on to wearing a face. It's the same sort of thing when you're writing a book, really. You have to figure out where your story is going and how to take the reader there. In the end, I love them both."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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