For the A to Z Challenge my theatrical word for today is understudy, of which we have none in our little theatrical troupe. It’s awfully hard to perform on stage when you are sick, and I always worry that one of our cast members will come down with something awful on opening night. So far we have been lucky and never had to cancel a performance, but there have been a few times we have struggled through.
And now, please help me welcome my Wednesday’s Guest, Kerry Letheby. Kerry is the author of Mine to Avenge, an epic saga, and she is here to share some of her favorite childhood books and movies.
Returning to my favorite childhood books and movies
For some years I have been on a personal quest to find and buy the movies and books I loved as a child. I’ve recently begun wondering why it’s important to me to find them and whether they have influenced who I am.
I have found that such a quest isn’t unique, knowing two friends who are doing the same thing. One of them said something that kindled my thoughts about this. She said that her favorite books had given her comfort and security when she was sad, lonely or frightened.
I immediately recognized my own motivation in her words. Each time I add another book or movie to the collection, I reclaim part of my childhood, with things that comforted me during times that might not have been so happy.
We know that books and movies communicate to us as adults, but it’s not that easy to explain exactly how or why they do. I struggled recently to tell someone how Les Miserables communicates to me, and why I love it so much.
Children find it much harder to articulate emotion and feelings than adults, because of their shorter life experience, so it is impossible to expect them to explain the effect a book or movie has on them. As a child, I remember being deeply in touch with my emotions when reading or watching a movie. My mother often found me crying profusely in front of the Lassie TV series but I certainly didn’t want her to turn it off.
When we were young, our parents might not have always picked up on our feelings because of our inability to articulate them, but the right movie or book at the right time met that emotional need. I suspect that my favorite movies and books became my favorites because they touched me at a time when nothing else did, in a way that made sense to me. They connected with me so powerfully that I have a subconscious desire to live that experience again.
This also accounts for other things I’ve chosen to keep – some of my sons’ books and toys. My years as a young mother were such happy years, and holding on to some of my sons’ favorites is a way of reliving a time I’ll never have again.
As I have only written one novel to date, it’s probably too soon to conclude whether these movies or books have influenced my writing, but I can’t discern any links at all, so maybe the question about any influence on my writing will have to wait a little longer.
However, I have still another unresolved question. Is my reaching back to the past a pursuit of the happy feelings the books and movies evoked, or is it an admission that I am feeling sad and vulnerable in some way, and am reaching out to what helped me deal with these feelings in the past?
As I look at the influence of these books and movies on my adult life, I see some connections, but with most, the connection remains a mystery. I have listed some below where the link is obvious to me.
So how have some of my favorites affected me?
A is for Apple Pie by Kate Greenaway – I have become a calligrapher as well as an author. I just love alphabets and fancy lettering
Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman – I just love pancakes with melted butter.
Old black and white movies starring greats such as Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, and Gregory Peck –
these have given me a romantic, idealized view of Europe, particularly Paris, and have affected my home décor which is 20s/30s Paris apartment style. I am finally getting the opportunity to visit Paris for the first time at the end of the year.
To connect with Kerry: Blog: A Novel Journey Facebook Twitter Goodreads