Writing Practice and Meeting up with your Muse
Writing Leap #71
WRITERS AND POLLYANNA
Pollyanna is a novel by Eleanor H. Porter written in 1913. It is a classic of children’s literature and there are several sequels. In her books Pollyanna found something to be glad about in every dire, sad, or unpleasant situation. In our modern collective unconscious a “Pollyanna” is for some a “goody two-shoes.” I, for one, do not consider myself to be a “goody two-shoes” by any means but I am immensely grateful for my flourishing, inner Pollyanna.
Think of the “Pollyanna” possibilities for your characters! A young man exasperated with his wife’s sunny disposition, a little girl in a hospital comforted by the “glad game,” or a grandfather who refuses to fill his life with negativity and makes the conscious decision to be content and enjoy his moments.
Here’s my most recent Pollyanna moment.
What to do with my set of totally outdated World Book Encyclopedias from the 1960’s, packed away in eight cardboard boxes? My husband and I simply had to clear out our overflowing closets. Strand second-hand bookstore in New York City didn’t want them. “Too many around,” they said. Ebay was not an option. Too heavy to ship.
Goodwill said they would take them. There may have been another place to bring them. A collector? But we couldn’t find one.
We pulled into the parking lot at a Goodwill Center. I felt horrible. The Goodwill worker ripped open the boxes and dumped the books into big bins. “But they’re supposed to be together!” I said. The worker shrugged.
I closed my eyes. My father, passed away a long time now, had given me those books. A glad, deep feeling of love dashed into my memory and my heart. A Pollyanna moment, triggered by sounds of the cartons ripping. I remembered and felt how generous and loving my father could be. I felt that love rush up again and I was enveloped in a warm, safe Daddy cocoon. Lucky me to feel it so immediately once more.
The memory segued into a moment when I was two. My father, who later built a successful business, was a salesman on the road at the time. It seems he skipped lunch to buy me a teddy bear, having enough money for only one or the other. I imagine his expression was the same excited one as when, many years later, he brought me Supplements to that 1965 edition of The World Book.
Plop. Into the dumpster bins. Thank you Pollyanna for turning this unpleasantness into sweet, deeply felt memories.
Happy Writing Everyone,
LINKING THE ARTS
A statue of Pollyanna in Littleton, New Hampshire in honor of Eleanor H. Porter who lived there.
I really love Pollyanna.
Words: Optimism and Pessimism and all the gray shades in between can figure in the core of your characters.