When I was little, I used to read so hard that I wouldn't even hear people talking to me. I don't remember how I began to read, or when, but I remember the smell of the library, the lovely children's books with cellophane wrapped hardback covers and great glossy pages. That feeling of reading so fast it was like gulping. I remember the thrill of falling in love with a story ~ of entering that world. Of meeting those exotic people and walking through the strange forests and cities and doing incredible things. It informed my play: acorns and miniatures and houses build out of vines. Treeforts and a box of jewels and a cave under the headboard. I used to think, if I tried hard enough, I would find an opening to Narnia. (Aslan, after all, said there were more.) It was a terrible ache that I could not make that happen.
My life is still very influenced by memoirs, journals, children's stories, mythology, magic and surreal possibilities ~ the ability to be in norway or in ancient greece in the moment of picking up a book. The experience of a different life, and what I can bring back to my own after having been away.
I brought Anne Frank with me on our trip to canada. My bread-kneadings and walks outdoors, vistas and fresh air and swims were experienced while a part of me was with her in the top floors of an office building in Amsterdam. Five years ago I visited that house, and I have stood in her bedroom. The knowledge of her experience, and her dreams, were very vivid to me as I got to enjoy all sorts of things she never did, and never shall.
Tim took Bilbo and the dwarves with him, so the lake and the rainstorms, his runs through the fields and all the animal sightings were all overlaid with giant eagles, trolls, the shade under Mirkwood and long sunny lonely treks with vistas of mountains at their end.
This week I am partially in Italy with elizabeth gilbert, partially on the Nile with hercule poirot, and yet another part of me is wild-swimming with roger deakin throughout england.
It has come serendipitiously to my attention that this is my 500th post. In honor of this, if you leave a comment telling me which polaroid you would like to own from my shop (look here), I will randomly pick a winner and gift them the polaroid print of their choice. Comments end when I put my next post up.