This entry is long overdue but New York has been busy, the holidays were crazy, and even at this moment my cat is brushing up against my face, pawing the keyboards and demanding for attention. How is a gal supposed to have a hobby in all of this mess? My point is that I HAVE been reading…I just haven’t been doing the writing part so much. So I’m doing it. Right this second. Fur in my mouth.
Amidst all the chaos of living in a giant, loud, people all up in your business city I immediately turned to a books that are comforting. Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” was a series that I devoured growing up and going back to them was a complete pleasure. I really thought that after all of my education…all this deconstruction, feminist, Marxist, Freudian and you-name-it theory study…I would be navigating the many possibilities that Pullman offers a reader. Hell no. I was getting wrapped up in it as if I were a kid again. All I wanted to know was who was good and who was bad and what was going to happen next as I twisted through Pullman’s tricky plot devices. I couldn’t’ get enough of it. Once I finished I realized I had not really thought about the book at all, at least not in the terms that I’m used to. And you know what? It was beautiful. It was magical. It was what made me love reading in the first place. It was what we dream of kids experiencing when we hand them books.
It is also a place of fragility. A book and all of the millions of ideas those pages represent become part of you. It is within that absence of thought that a book can create ideas that you bring into your own world. The conscious reader will question, confront, and come to their own conclusions but as I seeped into Pullman’s world I accepted it all as normal and internalized that normality. It is this fragile moment that makes so many people scared of books. Why “Go Ask Alice” was banned in school libraries and “Harry Potter” burned to cinders. But it is also why studying children’s literature is so important. Children’s books can create these magical delicate moments, can open a mind just as easily as it can close it. They are the creators of worlds.