There is this collective idea within the creative community that works of art and creative expression must entail some form of message or themes to challenge the audience.
Whether this message is overt or subtle, creativity must always have a conscious agenda and the idea of creating something because it’s simply beautiful or has a nice story is often not talked about.
Adam Davies is the writer of the children’s interactive storybook titled, ‘Geoff and his two dads: Tomato Trouble,’ that was released through iTunes.
‘I’ve always sort of been creative. I’m terribly uncomfortable talking about myself in this sense,’ Adam said. ‘I enjoy the creative outlet, but over the years I have struggled to find the confidence to let it out.’
Adam lives in Sydney with his partner of 16 years and their dog, Geoff, who is in a wheelchair and the inspiration behind the story and the series of, ‘Geoff and his two dads’.
Writing is a very solitary form of creative expression. George Orwell once said, “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
‘When writing, I like to be alone, I like to be surrounded by really loud music, whether that’s through headphones or speakers,’ Adam said.
‘Writing this series happened mostly in aeroplanes. I travel a lot for work, not being able to do anything and having my headphones, the story came together and I went from there.’
If I didn’t have anyone to collaborate with, it just wouldn’t exist, I know it wouldn’t. It would exist just with me.
Creatively, the possibilities are endless. Yes, everything has been done before, but it’s how you go about doing them in new and different ways that sets you apart from the rest.
For Adam, ideas for stories come from all around him. Whether he is listening to music, something that he sees or something that he hears, ideas are everywhere if you are open to them.
‘A thought comes into my mind and goes that would make a great story, I would then make some notes and then I will write away,’ Adam said. ‘A couple of bottles of wine always helps, it makes me not second guess myself and be more relaxed.’
Geoff and his two dads was inspired by Adams dog, Geoff, a Jack Russell, who at the age of three was diagnosed with Intervertebral Disk Disease (IDD) and had to be operated on.
Geoff went from being a very active young dog to being very stationary. His two dads tried every form of therapy to help Geoff. Eventually, they bought him a wheelchair, when therapy didn’t work.
‘My dog inspired this story and the series and just wanting to create something nice, something that has a little bit of meaning but not just to me,’ Adam said.
‘I thought, wouldn’t it be nice for the kids to have something wonderful to read about a cute little dog, who just happens to have two dads.’
Geoff and his two dads: Tomato Trouble, is about a disabled dog who doesn’t really know he has a disability. He is still a normal dog, who just happens to have two dads and a set of wheels.
‘He’s a little naughty and ruins the neighbours washing and prize winning tomato patch,’ Adam said. ‘But the two dads come to the rescue and make amends and everyone is happy again.’
There is no direct message or theme within this book and that is okay. Creativity isn’t always about teaching the audience a lesson. It is simply read for enjoyment and that alone is a beautiful thing.
While the ideas of same sex parents, homosexuality and disability are evident within the interactive storybook, it is never mentioned within the series. It’s simply about a dog that gets into trouble and his two dads save the day.
‘There is nothing really conscious about having no set agenda or theme within the book and series, we just wanted to create a really nice story about a little dog. It’s just the way it is,’ Adam said.
‘For us, prejudice doesn’t exist and it never really has, we just are, there are no labels, we don’t need to be something else, it’s just the way we are. That’s what the book is and what it is about.’
Putting this interactive storybook together was a collaborative effort. It had its original music score, an illustrator, narrator, developer and programmer.
Tanya Cooper, the illustrator of the book has managed to capture something wonderful that has brought the book to life, a sort of innocence surrounds Geoff the dog and you can’t help but never get mad at him.
‘Tanya’s illustrations are lovely. They just captured that Golden Book like feeling, something that your grandparents might read to you,’ Adam said.
Phillip J. Faddoul created the music score to the interactive storybook and has added another dimension to it, elevating it to another level.
‘Victor Andersen, the programmer ended up having a lot of input, he had a lot of ideas and offered a lot of ideas with some of the animations and the interactive parts,’ Adam said.
Creative collaboration was important in putting this storybook together. Everyone involved knew what needed to be done and they all worked well with each other.
‘If I didn’t have anyone to collaborate with, it just wouldn’t exist, I know it wouldn’t. It would exist just with me,’ Adam said.
The integral part of the project, who got the ball rolling for Adam, who provided him with contacts, was the director, editor and co-developer, the late Jeff Wannberg. He pushed and challenged Adam to get writing.
‘He is the soul of this storybook and series. He gave me the confidence to step up out of my comfort zone, to give it a go and put my private life on display in a sense, ‘Adam said.
‘He had a lasting impact on my life. I owe him a lot through this project. He gave me the confidence to write without second guessing myself.’
Jeff’s vision for the storybook went beyond the app, he envisioned pitching this story to Disney and it would be the first animation movie to deal with same sex parents.
‘By our second meeting, I still did not have a story ready and written, Jeff’s reaction, ‘if you don’t give me something I’ll write the fucking thing myself.’ He believed in me and this story even before I did.’
The next book, Geoff and his two days: Beach Bother, will not be an interactive storybook. The story is written, Adam is planning to head over to Newcastle to take some location shots, to send to the illustrator. The second book is due to be released in the second half of the year.
‘We want to make the series more accessible to everyone, rather than have it limited to iPad users. Books two, three and four will be a traditional print book and then we will go back and make the first one a printed book,’ Adam said.
All up there are ten stories, four or five of them have been edited and are ready to be illustration and published. Eight, nine and ten are still in draft form.
Adam Davies hopes to write young adult fiction that has an LGBTQI theme or possibly a collection of short stories sometime in the future. He is in no hurry.
‘I never would have imagined, as a fifteen year old, sitting in my room writing, that one day, I would publish a children’s story let alone a series of them. As a writer, I would never have imagined that,’ Adam said.
If you want to find out more about Geoff and his two dads or Adam Davies, you can go on Facebook, Instagram and twitter or you can check out his blog. You can also purchase a copy of the interactive story book in the iTunes store, available only on iPad.
If you happen to see a dog in a wheelchair, say hello, he is very friendly with a cheerful disposition, who doesn’t know he has a disability.
‘He is a celebrity in his own right, he is really adorable. Not only is he cute, he has got a really loving nature to him, he has a really nice soul and he’s just beautiful, ’Adam said.