December 13, 2011

Astrid Lindgren and Pippi Longstocking

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"If I have managed to brighten up even one gloomy childhood ~ then I’m satisfied." ~ Astrid Lindgren

When I’m in a rotten mood, one surefire way to comfort myself is to think about a book that I read and loved as a child.

I remember loving Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. Pippi's combination of self-sufficiency and confidence in the face of adversity inspired me so much.

If you haven't read it:  Brother and sister Tommy and Annika meet a curious neighbor, a girl named Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking, or Pippi. She has red hair in stiff braids that stick out from her head and freckles. She has a monkey named Mr. Nilsson and a horse. The three go on many adventures together.

What struck me as a kid was the scene where she cleaned her own house. She tied brushes to her feet and skated around and made it a game. Her parents were gone ~ her mother died and her father was away at sea ~ but she was able to make due all on her own. I loved that self-reliance. And she was the strongest little girl in the world, another aspect of being able to take care of herself. She was as odd as I felt, yet was supremely comfortable with herself.

Like so many writers who create worlds, a whole industry has grown up around Pippi and her world and movies have been made and spinoffs writtten. Astrid also wrote a whole bunch of other things too.

So today I thought I’d point out a few resources about Pippi and Astrid. Here’s the wiki page about the books. Here’s the wiki page about Astrid Lindgren, the author, and here is her official site, though it’s in Swedish of course. A button in the lower right hand corner converts it to English. Astrid was also a screenwriter, so there is a lot of video on the web.

Astrid Lindgren

And that quote at the top? That’s how I’ve always felt. If something I’ve written touches just one other person as much as what I’ve read has touched me, then it’s worth it.

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