because, books

A Young Girl Reading, c. 1776, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
A Young Girl Reading, c. 1776, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Beware of the person of one book.  –Thomas Aquinas

I fell in love with Jane because she was dressed for the first day of second grade in a blue and white sailor dress like a girl from one of my books. I remember a hat and gloves to boot, but I don’t quite trust that memory because I’m sure as soon as I saw the sailor dress I gave her a hat and gloves in my imagination. She had a British accent: her family had lived in England and Africa and on weekends her father dressed in white trousers and sweater and played cricket in the park, which took like ten hours.

Besides Jane, I was in love with books. Lustfully, extravagantly in love. Jane’s father called me a bluestocking. He said it meant a girl who liked to read. I liked the sound of it: bluestocking. It sounded whimsical to me, old fashioned and romantic, like Jane’s sailor dress (and hat and gloves). Continue reading because, books

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What I Learned from Peter Pan: In Praise of Crowing

photo by David Jones
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, London
photo by David Jones

One of my first heroes was Peter Pan. He was a kid who could go toe to toe with grownups—pirates, even. I liked the way he unabashedly crowed whenever he was pleased with himself, which was most of the time.  He bragged incorrigibly and unapologetically about the smallest achievement. The narrator doesn’t sugarcoat it:

“To put it with brutal frankness,” he says, “There never was a cockier boy.”

I envied Peter’s confidence. It thrilled me when he crowed,

“How clever I am! Oh, the cleverness of me!”

I longed for that kind of self-assurance, let along the audacity to stand on a chair and shout about it—the way Peter did at every opportunity. Continue reading What I Learned from Peter Pan: In Praise of Crowing