Two moments in the past few months have led me to start my very first collection.
The first happened in the post-Christmas sales when a penniless Frannie went window shopping and happened to come across the last copy on the shelf of Rob Scotton’s Russell’s Christmas Magic.
I looked at the lonely book on its empty shelf and couldn’t help myself; I scraped together my pennies and bought it. You see, the story of Russell’s Christmas Magic was the basis for the amazing 2012 Bourke St Mall Myer store Christmas window display and every time I was there during my brief stint in Melbourne I was swept up in its wonder. I decided that owning this book was the best way possible to keep hold of some of this magic.
More recently, I came home from work one day to find a parcel from Aunty J waiting for me.
How wonderful to have this book, a childhood favourite of mine, back in my possession. I especially adore that it has the handwritten note from my beloved Aunt in there. Now I had two children’s books, both equally dear to me, to read to my kids one day.
Books provide us with a portal to some indescribably fantastic worlds. Worlds we may not have been able to dream up ourselves. As a child, closing my eyes and imagining these worlds in all of their colourful glory, I was taken to places where I was safe and anything was possible.
There was one particular book I owned as a young girl that, while I cannot for the life of me remember the title, had a pullout map of the fictitious land the story was set in. I very quickly adapted this map to relate to my own backyard and on gorgeous summer evenings as the sky turned from blue to pink to purple and my parents watched over us play, I would journey from the giant pine tree to the swingset to the garden bed to behind the shed, always ending up home in my castle (cubby house). One night Dad must have burned the steaks because smoke billowed from the barbeque and in my imagination that became a forest fire that saw me rescue some gnomes who were trapped in the flames. It is funny to recount these adventures that I as a 4-year-old brought to life and I would never forgive myself for not affording my children the same opportunity to use their imaginations.
And so my collection begins… mainly for myself who, as someone who would be humbled to be called a ‘writer’, likes to be reminded of the stories that first captured and grew my imagination. Hopefully one day though it will be a little library for my children to rummage through and I will again get to journey to these wonderful worlds as seen through their wide eyes.