Kat Ellis is the author of Blackfin Sky–a debut fantasy with an eerie circus and lots of fun–which is on Yalsa’s 2015 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list of Mysteries: Murder, Mayhem and Other Misadventures. Kat’s next novel Breaker will be released in Spring 2016.
Today Kat is talking about how Ted Hughes’s ‘The Thought-Fox’ taught her to think like a writer.
The Thought-Fox and Me
I remember the first time I came across The Thought-Fox, sitting in class when I was around 10 years old, listening to the teacher read it aloud. From the first line, it stopped me in my tracks (I was most likely carving my initials into the desk or doing something equally productive at the time), and suddenly I was imagining the dark forest, the ticking clock, the writer hunched over a blank page. I’d felt that way before about stories – snared, sucked in by the words – but a poem had never grabbed me like that.
Back then I never read poetry outside of class, and I didn’t know why this poem in particular captured my imagination. Looking back, I wonder if it was because the poem is about writing (even then, I liked to write), and because it so beautifully captures that sensation of a wild thought made tangible through words.
Years later, when I got to study poetry-writing in university, the tutor asked everyone in the group to talk about a poem that inspired them. Even after so long, this was the poem that sprang to my mind. I will admit there was some eye-rolling from the rest of the group – this poem is widely studied in the UK, and everyone else was naming obscure German poets, spoken-word poems about Heavy Subjects, and other things that I still can’t really muster much enthusiasm for. What can I say? I’m mainstream.
But I stood my ground, because The Thought-Fox stirred more feelings in me than any of the others, and still does. Maybe it’s just because I’m a writer. Maybe it’s because a fox jumped out of my head that one time. Or maybe it’s because it’s a bloody good poem.
Thank you again to Kat for this delightful post.
If you’d like to learn more about Kat and her books, be sure to visit her website: http://katelliswrites.blogspot.com