|"From this lofty retreat Betsy had a splendid view"|
It's difficult to think of a time when I was not acquainted with Betsy-Tacy. (See what I did there.* :)) As I mentioned in my last post, these books were very much a part of my childhood. It's only in looking back that I see just how much they influenced me.
I am not as outgoing as Betsy is (in that respect I'm much more of a Tacy or an Emily), but I think if I belonged to a Crowd like she did, I very well could be. I have a lot of similarities to her in other ways, though: I've won essay contests and had my poetry published (that sounds a lot more impressive than it really was, I assure you!). Through my childhood I also imitated a lot of the scenes from the books:
- For a time, I tried using a trunk for a writing desk. I never liked it much, though, because I found it uncomfortable to write at an angle and not be able to get my legs under it. (Chapter 6, Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown)
- I climbed up in a tree to write (sans cigar box), and--at least once--I got stuck up there, because I was too afraid of heights to jump down! (Chapter 1, Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown)
- I tried dyeing sand with the leftover Easter egg dyes, but I think the sand I had was too dark and the dyes too wet. It ended up rather muddy looking. (Chapter 9, Betsy-Tacy)
I love the Betsy books because they celebrate the wonders of childhood and accurately portray the uncertainties of growing up. I love Maud's appreciation for family, simply every day joys, friendship, faith, nature, values, and a good adventure--even if it takes place in one's backyard.
I found kindred spirits and dear friends in Betsy and crew. In fact, I think a great deal of my childhood aspiration of becoming a writer came from Betsy…and Anne, and Jo. But most of all, from Betsy, as those were the books I was acquainted with first. Most of this desire probably stemmed from the thrill of creating, the imagined joy of seeing my name in print, and the deep connection I felt to the literary characters of my youth. I've always been captivated by the idea that I could string together words to create characters and worlds as vivid as the ones that I would escape to in my imagination. I don't think I ever really had any great or original ideas, but I felt things deeply, and I loved to act out my stories--with my dolls, my brothers, or just by myself.
I'm not a writer--yet--and I honestly don't know if I will ever be, but I still consider Betsy, Tacy, and Tib to be my dear friends.
*Footnote for the uninitiated: "It was difficult, later, to think of a time when Betsy and Tacy had not been friends." is the opening sentence of Betsy-Tacy, the first book in the series.
It's not too late to sign up for the Maud Hart Lovelace Reading Challenge! Head over today and enter to win the Betsy-Tacy Treasury. If you do join the challenge, please mention me as referring you (if you choose) as this will earn me an extra entry in the giveaway! Thanks. :)