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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Thursday, 3 August 2006

The Child That Was Once Me, Is Skipping!

Somewhere inside me, the child that was once me, is skipping.

I heard her just now on the gravel of my heart, counting one, two, three and jump, jump, jump. Almost as if she had stayed encapsulated forever in a memory of dolls and toys and books and never grown up.

It was with such relish in my spirit that I left off reading my present and hearty conquest of an e-novella, titled Three Girls in a Flat and with bated breath challenged my rusty mind to once again picking up Hans Christian Anderson.

And not that I have to worry about facing grumpy old memories in their slumber and sugared raisins in their remembrance. But rather, that perhaps I could make shiny new memories for the here and now.

What would I take away as a grown-up from a beloved fairy tale, loved the world over through the large waterfall of a rushing cascading time?

The more popular tales were of course, The Snow Queen, The Real Princess, The Emperor's New Clothes and The Red Shoes. These were stories my parents and teachers read me over and over.

I chose as a grown-up what I would perhaps have been inclined to choose as a little girl, had I understood Anderson's bibliography without having to ferry a milk bottle dangerously in one hand and sticky toffee happily in the other. And forget my clumsy sackful of irritating rattles.

And so it was, that I chose
The Old House. It tells the tale of a forgotten decaying building in a nice, new street and its domestic ornaments including the plight of a tin soldier, that mischeviously spring to life for a little boy.

For the first time as I read this story, I read it swiftly in an automatic, technical fashion, considering that I was now a professional writer. This happened naturally. And the fairytale became an immediate writing lesson for me.

For example, how Anderson went to town with his title of The Old House.

Of the way he ressurrected each decaying window, rooftop, gable and every creaky floorboard to life with finely-tuned descriptions that effectively strengthened the image of what was already conjured in a reader's mind.

Until you felt you couldn't be anywhere else but somewhere before time, encased in a dark chamber of secrets, in this threatening, mysterious home.

And yet still dissatisfied, Anderson went on to add other images that signified 'old. He engaged himself in his writing power easily and without restrictions.

Images he chose included an imposing pendulum clock, dust-coated pictures, an overrun flower pot and withered flowers. All prepared to play eerie vivid games with the mind.

Once I had scanned through this, the impatient little girl in me, took over. Holding the tale as sacred as scriptures as if I was afraid of being led once more by her hand into a long ago past, I finally lullabied myself into this willingness.

I held her hand tight and walked through the tunnel of memory like yesterday. I tasted the longwinded adjectives, prevalent to the rich translated English language of that time, as if I were in a faraway toyroom.

And when I reached the essence of its being, the story rewarded me not with Smarties, but with a welcome that was warm, blustery and immensely beautiful in its approach to a long-awaited hello.

I wowed to become friends, stayed to tea and while I soaked in its words from the land of the forgotten, remained determined, to savour them again and again.

And so, I rediscovered myself once more in a new way.

Why didn't I do this before?

Possibly because a moment must be created for such an opportunity where time and space finally lays the red carpet for you, on a specific turning of a destiny.

The readiness of wanting to rediscover onself again in this strange, surreal way, is everything. And I know this marks the beginning of many more tales to come.

Together with the rest of the classics and so much waiting fiction and poetry.

The little girl in me is skipping but after awhile, she's going to run off somewhere into a deep Never-Never Land to look once more for forgotten but cherished Brownie friends. Have I told you yet about my Brownie friends? Not yet? Maybe tomorrow.

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