Friday last week, I am in the local bookstore, wandering the aisles, pulling books off the shelves to thumb through. This is one of my favourite things to do. It relaxes me, clears my mind, opens and inspires me, shows me what is possible to create with words and love.
I am in the children’s section. All picture books, colour and play. What joy here, image and word on every page of every book! I am in one of my versions of heaven. I move from shelf to shelf, slow, taking time. Then, there in front of me, eye height, is ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ by Crockett Johnson. 50th Anniversary Edition, it says on the front cover.
I remember reading this book in grade one. Six years old and discovering that I can create my world. All I need is a purple crayon or any colour of crayon, and my imagination, loud, wild, galloping and romping wherever it chooses like a herd of wild horses.
At six years old, joy is a fistful of crayons and a pad of paper.
Harold and the Purple Crayon is my favourite book. I read it over and over, watch Harold create an apple tree with a dragon to guard the ripening apples, a mountain, a balloon to float in, a bedroom window to see the moon from, a bed with a blanket to draw up and sleep under.
Soon I have the book memorized, but I keep putting it into my weekly stack of borrowed library books anyways. I love it so.
I am teaching myself how to create my world, although I do not know it then.