It takes a lifetime to learn how to be a smart kid
When we’re small we want to be grown up. When we’re teenagers we want to be independent. But when we grow too old to be astronauts and ballerinas we can do backflips with ‘Kung Fu Panda’.
A dive down the rabbit hole can do us the world of good. Strap on your 3-D glasses, hang up your cane and leave your curmudgeon-ness at the door… but keep the hearing aid.
Second childhood is designed for baby boomers
Below the earth is where the fun begins. It’s over the top. Where else could it be but up a beanstalk or down a rabbit hole?
Do the left side of your brain a favor, engage non-local mind, and purchase a one-way ticket to Wonderland. Indulge your deepest instincts in a refreshing tea party of mad conversation. Embrace the absurd. Binge on popcorn and a rompingly-insane fantasy, Disney’s ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ (hint… ignore the critics). But don’t go if you’re unwilling to abandon the world of logic. Forfeit the sensible. Get lost where getting lost is the point. That’s what old age is for.
In the sixties we ‘boomers’ were too busy letting it all hang out to see the bigger picture. Perhaps it was too soon for most of us to stop and smell the roses. Certainly, Lewis Carroll the creator of ‘Alice,’ didn’t contain himself in 1871.
We are dreamers calibrated to visualize. Fantasy enabled our species to survive when sentient weather ruled our days. That primordial dream when our friends were trees and streams, and unwholesome craziness lived on mountaintops well out of reach. It took generations to breach those heights and discover that the Titans were small enough to fit into the palms of our hands with imagination to spare.
Sometimes it takes a thousand years to discover ‘who-done-it’( um… nobody as it turns out… it was evolution). And sometimes it takes only a hundred and forty-five years to turn a beloved classic into the pages of a moving picture screen.
Apparently, cats are philosophers, hares make tea, caterpillars are sublimely ironic, and many a wise word is spoken in jest by a genie out of the bottle. Who knew? Authors of children’s fiction knew. The older we get, the more we remember this.
What were your favorite children’s books reread as an ‘adult’? Mine were:
‘Winnie the Pooh’ (read through the eyes of Benjamin Hoff’s brilliant ‘The Tao of Pooh’ and ‘the Te of Piglet’; ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ (Disney’s 3-D animation seen a few weeks ago); and ‘Peter Pan’ (revisited in the movie ‘Hook’).
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My favourite book as a child was ‘Bambi’ – not the movie, the book – and ‘Black Beauty’. I loved the Pooh series also. While growing up I never went back to read children’s books, I was too busy reading forward. I had absolutely no judgment or taste, just read everything that my parents ordered through the Book-of-the-Month Club. Later when I was in the RCAF, buying my own books, I stored them and carried them from posting to posting in a kit bag because I heard that was how Hemingway carried his books. The first novel that literally struck me between the eyes was ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. When I was posted in Germany I bought a copy in the original, which helped me continue learning the German language. Since then I have reread this novel almost every year, both in English and in German. It never grows old.
Sorry. Off topic. Definitely not a kid’s book.
Not off topic at all. It’s interesting to know what books compel us to reread or revisit. It says a great deal about our core personalities. Not that I know what, but if a story embeds itself in one’s psyche it affects the way we writers write. Did you enjoy the next incarnations of Bambi animated by Disney? or the movie ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’?
There are so many movies based on current bestsellers. I suppose it’s every authors dream to sell their book to Hollywood. And we’re urged to write pages that parallel the pace of movies.
Thank you for commenting.