Oh, to be seven

Of late, I’ve been watching Little Miss and thinking that seven years old is just about the perfect age to be. After some reflection, here are my reasons why it’s just the most delightful age….

It’s super easy to make friends

I took Little Miss to a school holiday workshop the other day, and she was nervous at first because she didn’t know anyone else. When I picked her up afterwards, she told me she’d made a new friend. I asked her how they had become friends and she frowned at me, puzzled by my question. “She asked if I wanted to be her friend, and I said yes”. I love it. It’s fast, direct and you know right away where you stand. Why do we complicate friendships as adults? The next time I meet a fellow human I like, I’m going to try it.

You can do flawless cartwheels

I can only imagine my body would go into some kind of toxic shock if I attempted a cartwheel or a handstand. Little Miss is able to spend most of her day whirling around or upside down, and never seems to get tired. Totes jel.

You still believe in magic

Little Miss has an ongoing letter exchange with the Midnight Garden Fairies. She writes them notes and leaves them flowers, and they draw her pictures and tell her all about the fairy realm. She delights in magic, and I delight in the memory of the magic I once believed in. It’s seriously the best thing about parenting.

You’re discovering amazing books for the first time

The Enchanted Wood. Narnia. The Twits. I feel as though her joy in reading these wonderful, wonderful classics for the first time rekindles the delight I felt when I was her age, devouring Enid Blyton book by book.

Who’d like to turn the clock back to seven with me?

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What it’s like to love fictional characters

When I started this post, it was going to be a review of a show I’ve been watching lately – True Detective 2 (WARNING – spoilers ahead!)

While it’s been somewhat panned by critics, I really loved it – I found it compelling and thought-provoking, and the noir cinematography haunting. Yes, some of casting wasn’t brilliant – Vince Vaughn the most obvious example – and some of the scenes overwritten, but I really, really liked it and binge-watched it over the period of just a few days.

Afterwards, when I was thinking about why I really liked it, I realised it boiled down to the affection I felt for the two main characters – Ray Velcoro, played by Colin Farrell, and Antigone Bezzerides, played by Rachael McAdams. While the mini-series is a psychological cop thriller, essentially it is a love story, about two broken people finding their salvation in each other. Ray is an alcoholic, corrupt cop, thwarted in his attempt to connect with his son by his own rage and the memory of having killed the man who raped his wife many years ago. Antigone is a shell of a person, deeply traumatized by having been kidnapped and sexually molested as a child. When these two people finally come together, it’s exquisite. Which of course, makes the inevitability of Ray’s tragic end so heartbreaking.

It’s funny how we can become so attached to the characters we read about or watch. It happens to me all the time – after the ending of True Detective I wandered about in a distraught haze for a day, just so completely gutted for Ray and Antigone. I did the same thing after I read The God of Small Things. When I look back on my “real” life, it is marked by emotionally impacting events – birthing my children, being at my nephew’s funeral, experiencing the sadness and joy that comes along as part of life’s journey. Similarly, my life also seems marked by the times I experienced vicarious tragedy and happiness– when Beth died in Good Wives, or when Anne lost her baby in Anne’s House of Dreams; when Dorothea realised her love for Ladislaw in Middlemarch, when the giant’s heart opens for the little children in Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant or when the mentally disturbed Cyril is executed in Oz.

This is why I love good writing, whether it be a TV show, a play, a book or movie – I feel as though I’ve lived through these experiences right alongside some of my favourite people. It doesn’t matter if I don’t actually know them in the flesh and blood sense – they are real. Sometimes they are a reflection of who we are, or who we were, who we could have become, or who we want to be. And I’m glad there are plenty more waiting for me – in unread books and unwatched shows. Waiting for me to discover them 🙂