“The most radical act anyone can commit is to be happy.”
-Robin Williams (Patch Adams)
Red Nose Day is here, a time for merry-making and frivolity! And all for a good cause. For those who don’t know, Red Nose Day is a fundraising event geared towards raising money for children living in poverty. It is a brief moment in our busy lives where we lackluster grown-ups can rediscover the giddy memories of a simpler time and strive to help those in need, so they can afford the same opportunities many take for granted. It is giving us an opportunity to help others create the same find and carefree memories to cherish when they join the adult masses of the world. Children shouldn’t be worried about finding food, or worried about their health care or education- that is our burden to bear. We can’t let them down.
In the spirit of the event, I thought it could be fun to take a moment to reminisce about a simpler time. As a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up and be in charge of my own life. Now, granted, I must admit that I do occasionally imbibe in that long-coveted childhood dream of ice cream for dinner- these days it tends to feel more like defeat than the glorious victory I once thought it would be. It seems that youth is wasted on the young- oh how I crave those simple memories some days, before responsibility came pounding at my door and barged in uninvited.
Not that I don’t still find a way to ‘relive’ my childhood on occasion. I will be the first to admit that I don’t say no when the nephews want to play ‘action figures.’ Okay- full disclosure- at my last office I even had a shelf full of the little things. They were much coveted by my co-workers kids when they came to visit, but like the Grinch- I was unwilling to share my prized possessions. And sure, you can still find the sporadic Disney movie mixed in my recently watched list on Netflix. My poor fiancé has learned that Beauty and the Beast playing is usually a sure sign that I’ve had a rough day and need to immerse myself in animated comfort.
But my biggest guilty pleasure- the one I relish and refuse to admit to the rest of the world? Re-reading my old tried-and-true favorite books growing up. Oh yes, there you will see my literary roots, the books that fed the writerly obsession that has guided my life. You can still even see the seeds of these past inspirations nestled in my most current work. So why not share my past joys with all of you?
These are some of my favorite books that filled my days as a clueless little lass (in no particular order or specified age), these are the ones the I still search for to add to my extensive book collection, and the ones I run to when I am in need of chicken soup for my soul.
- The PhantomTollbooth
- Bunnicula (if you haven’t read this, please, please go out and find it- it’s a hidden gem)
- Harriet the Spy (and yes- I did own one of those black-and-white marbled notebooks for my very own spy work)
- Ralph S. Mouse
- Wayside School
- Scary Stories
- Goosebumps (especially the choose-your-own adventure books. Spoiler: I usually died the first six rounds)
- Dear America series (bonus points if it included the Titanic, oh be still my beating heart)
- Nancy Drew
- Walk Two Moons (first book to ever make me cry)
- Amelia Badelia (the adorably literal woman who open my eyes to the strangeness that colors the English language. I will never forget ‘hitting the road’ and ‘letting the bread rise’
- Anything Dr. Seuss
- And while I’m at it: anything Shel Silverstein (my goal: own a signed copy- very hard to find, even harder to afford)
- And of course- Harry Potter (still obsessed, probably bordering on unhealthy. But I grew up with them. Still waiting on my letter- the owl post isn’t what it used to be)
So what about you my friends? What colored your childhood and worked your passions? Leave me a comment with your favorite works.