Thursday, October 12, 2006

I want to be Powerful! But still…Pretty

It’s many years ago, it's Fall, and I’m having lunch with agent Irene Goodman, and I’m asking about her kids and we get into the Halloween costume discussion.

I hadn’t really thought about how important costume selection is to a child. It is who you are that year. Who you want to be. Who you want to try on—to stand out. To blend in. To connect. To explore.

So I asked, “So what is your daughter going to be for Halloween this year?” and I get an earful! She was thinking about this, she was thinking about that, she couldn’t decide. I can’t remember now all the options and alternatives, but there were many. Finally it all boiled down to one heartfelt cry, which her mother shared with me—which I have never forgotten:

I want to be powerful! But still…pretty.

I nodded. Wisely. Don’t we all?

And isn’t that what is so wonderful, so seductive about reading? About stories? That we slip into each character’s skin for a time and become powerful, pretty, everything beyond and in between.

We can indulge the many faces of our complex selves, we can balance any opposing fantasy within a story, assuming any sex, ethnicity, age, orientation, experience, social status. Indeed we can lose our human-ness entirely and run with the wolves, swim with the dolphins, soar with the birds.

We can find ways to be powerful…and recognize that we may also still want to be pretty. Or just pretty powerful. Or whatever.


So what should you be reading to get you in the Hallowe'en mood? Check out
Girl's Guide to Witchcraft
by Mindy Klasky, out this October from Red Dress Ink. Mindy sends these adorable eVites to her signings. She also has a blog. I haven't inspected them closely enough to understand the Cocktail motif. Shaken, not stirred?

I've just finished Girl's Guide after getting hooked on the first few chapters in the acquisition meeting when Mary Theresa presented it. It was delightful then, and after grabbing a copy of the book (the last on the shelf!) I indulged myself in this irresistible fantasy.

Is it a book of unpredictable tricks filled with interesting treats or a intriguing treat filled with unexpected tricks? It was a total treat! I really enjoyed it, loved the heroine, loved her familiar, enjoyed exploring a half-real half-created Washington, D.C. (my sort-of home town) through the author's eyes.


Shirley Jump said...

I had to laugh at this post, Isabel, because I have a 13yo daughter, and I just asked her this morning if she was going trick or treating. She said she was going to go for as long as she could get away with it. I said, "What are you going to be this year?"

"Anything with a mask."

I thought a minute, then put the reasoning together. "That's so no one will guess there's a thirteen-year-old behind it, right?"

"Exactly, Mom." And she grinned.

Crafty kid. She wants to get her candy and eat it too. (Actually a girl after my own heart. When she gets to my age, she'll be smart enough to tell her kids that those Reese's are bad for you and Mom must eat them to be sure they're not rotten ;-).

Isabel Swift said...

Smart. Hey, perhaps she can parlay it into a 'babysitting' job (candy AND getting paid for it too) or just pretend she's an older sibling 'watching out' for the young 'uns.

I remember taking my neice around to her first one. She hadn't gotten her "Trick or Treat" lines down& ever time the door opened she'd gasp & blurt out: "I want some candy!" Staight to the point.

Shirley Jump said...

LOL at your niece! That's too funny. Straight and to the point. You gotta respect that about a girl :-)


Isabel Swift said...

I just wanted to add that I've just finished Mindy Klasky's GIRL'S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT and really enjoyed it!

Anne said...

I've just discovered your blog and I am devoring it.
Also, I wanted to know what you thought of Girl's Guide to Witchcraft... I'll try to find it next week end... I had never heard of it before it does sound cool !

ps Last time I went trick or treat ? I was 20... :)