Monday, 10 March 2014

Inside the great green room

Reading: Not sure yet...I peer at my shelves to select a book. The problem is, they all look good. I am, however, oscillating between William Golding's The Lord of the Flies and Stephen King's Bag of Bones. Both indulgent re-reads.
Listening to: a World War II documentary on Yesterday
Outside: Sun! Sun! Suuuunnnnn!

Yesterday was a very special day. A day of firsts. Our dear daughter, teetering close to four months old and happily worn out from our (easy and delightful!) day trip to Harrogate, listened attentively as I read her a very important book.

Granny's gift: keeping the fire lit for another generation

For those of you who haven't read it, or if it's been a while, I highly recommend you grab a copy. You don't need to be a kid or have kids. You don't need an excuse. All you need is an imagination.

To this day, every time I look at this book I remember the softness of my mom's bathrobe, and the gentle rocking of her La-Z-Boy recliner, and the pauses between pages, and her whispering rhymes. This was my favorite book as a child - and even today it's still in my top ten - and sent me to sleep countless times. I loved walking into that great green room, with the kittens and the mittens, and (of course!) the cow jumping over the moon. It was warmth and security, it was goodnight in the best way.

As a kid who had a hard time sleeping - I blame an over-active imagination and the requisite fear of the dark - this book meant that "goodnight" was not goodbye but rather, you're not alone. It was a room you stepped into, safe and secure, and it was all of those things that stayed with you even though you were asleep. Like the comb and the brush and the bowl full of mush. And the pictures, pure and darkening with every page, invite you to settle and sleep and dream.

I don't know if this book led me to being obsessed with books. Maybe it especially inspired me to like dark stories, those bump-in-the-night tales, a journey that began with Goodnight Moon and progressed to R. L. Stine and then to (the darkness and redemption of the human spirit, like) Chuck Palahniuk, Barbara Kingsolver, and Alex Haley. I might have gotten that love-of-books gene directly from my mom, who got it from her mom. Or maybe it's not a gene at all - maybe it's just the way you are brought up. Maybe it's the way your mind is wired up, a precious circuit-board that desires story-lines and characters, trouble and truth. Maybe it's the encouragement of imagination, of seeing deep in your dreams for what could be. Maybe it's like how Stephen King puts it: believing a dime can derail a freight train. Believe in the impossible, see what's invisible, and bam! You have a love of story.

Last night, my little girl blinked slow and sighed at the end and stared long at that last page. I wondered what she was thinking. I wonder if she'll remember the great green room. I hope she visits often. She'll always be welcome.

Happy Monday, everybody!


  1. Lovely Vee, in this world of technology there is still nothing to beat culing up with your little one and reading them one of the stories you love from your childhood. I am sure she was thinking please read it again Momma.

    1. Yep, nothing beats old school! Books are always the way forward, and this one is one of the best out there. I need to show you it! Good times, good times x