I’m off on my travels on Thursday, first to a conference in Ithaca, NY, then to New York for a bit of business, then to Ottawa for my son’s wedding. That’s why Charlie is so spiffy. Everyone agreed he had to be at the wedding, and as the best man etc are in white tux jackets and black pants, he had to be in style.
This may seem rather strange to you. I would first point out that I’m a writer. I let imaginary people live in my head and talk to me. Sometimes I talk back. Of course I married someone as weird as I am and genetics has to do its bit for the offspring. But we often wonder whether we have actually been hosting an alien these past 22 years. What better way to observe Earthlings in their natural habitat?
We certainly never planned to give a home to a Cabbage Patch doll. It was Christmas, 1984 and Cabbage Patch mania gripped the land. The stores had run out. If a store got a new shipment, people lined up and then fought each other for the boxes. It was ugly out there. Tickle-me-Elmo was a pale comparison. We had two sons, however, a toddler and a seven-year-old, so we were totally free of Cabbage Patch insanity.
Move on to the school Christmas fair. You know how it is. You buy a ticket for every raffle. Of course, when the grand prize of the evening was called — the solitary, precious CBK — our name was on the ticket. All around, little girls burst into tears and fretful parents gnashed their teeth. I headed for the stage intending to ask them to draw again, but by the time I’d fought against the exiting crowd nearly everyone was gone. So I took the box and left.
It wouldn’t have been the same at all, I’m sure, if he’d been a girl. I can’t imagine a Mandy with blond wool bunches sliding so smoothly into the family. In fact, he’s bald, and that, too, is part of his magic. That wool hair is so obviously false.
It all started so innocently. He came, bald and babyish in a peach colored stretch sleeper. Come to think of it, I don’t know where that went. He probably hunted it down and burned it at some point. As the boys grew, he grew. He acquired trousers and a baseball hat. He had Halloween costumes. As a teenager he developed a strong taste for bling.
He’s been to England, Bruges, Versailles and university. (Only for a visit. We’re not entirely mad.) He dictated that we become a refuge for other #3 head bald CBKs, which is why we know have four. He’s probably planning world domination, but could Cabbage Patch dolls do a worse job that we’re doing?
Essentially, he’s our family mascot, so he’s off to the wedding. I’ve left a post for next week and I should have computer access and be able to pop in now and then.
I have no idea what thoughts this might stimulate. Do you have treasured dolls? I was never a soft toy keeper myself. Do you think writers need to be a bit crazy to work here?
Or a lot. I do worry sometimes that trying to be sane, or heaven help us, “professional” can kill the magic. “A professional writer writes,” I want to snarl. “It’s nothing to do with how one dresses, or even whether one can make witty lunch speeches.”
Have you read Faery Magic? I gather that many North Americans think of fairies as Tinkerbell or the tooth fairy. Not me. I spent many of my childhood years convinced that fairies were real. Why did I put that in the past tense? Of course they are. I know now, however, that they’re not the flower fairies, but Faery – mighty and mysterious, and probably best left alone.