my bright childhood fairy tale. my invisibility, a choice. my fictionisms, a mirage. my first encounter with Andersen and his poor match girl
Amusement is a direct creation of ideology. It is always alienation in power. To amuse oneself is to disarm oneself.
Once upon a time… I recall by fairy childhood memory that fairy tales had always this beginning. I grew up inhabiting most of these realms — the world of marvelous stories. I used to come back from school with a book in my hands. My teachers gave them to me as gifts — I was a great student. This or that girl being embroiled in a land of magical possibilities, with their animals, their dreams, their pink dresses, and their laces so perfectly adjusted to their everyday-life games.
Holidays always offer an extensive range of great surprises. And mine were always with my partners, my literary books. Boys and girls and their fantasies. Their wonderlands. Bright sun. Farms. Picnics. Swimming pools. Trips. Christmas gifts. Birthday gifts. Balls. Happy families. Happy hours. Hats. Cats. Dogs. Hopscotch. Boo peep — oh, hide and seek!
I was nine years old. And my best friend’s mother, Jacqueline, wonderful woman, delicate and decent, gave me a Christmas gift. I always disliked this date, even in my childhood. The same context. Mother and father and brother and aunts and so on. Laughing. Telling untrue stories. Feeling untrue sensations and sharing their gloominess with each other, as if feeling in solitude but letting the others get the wrong message of their misadventures. Same people around a table. Noises. Shouting. Mess. So many hugs. Unfeigned. So many “Happy this, happy that”. Masking their blatant distemper. As they were vociferating, I was silencing. And just hungry of my fictitious lands. My wonderlands. Families and their friends. Their meetings. Their greetings. Their frauds.
All this I disliked as a child. My realms, my fictionisms, were much more realistic than all this fictionized scenario of great adventures. A blatant fraud. And I disliked all this because my path was always just another. I preferred the silence. Readers love that. Because they need to be concentrated on the words. Without that, no way to reach that realm the fairy books invite us to. I didn’t know about the others, but with me passed that way. I was a child that loved reading. And then I loved the silence. And then the words. And then I have been carried away with thinking of the words. To think we need the silence. And then it is a cycle.
Who still believes that children do not understand anything around is still very wrong. We understand everything. Even if we seem to be so distant sometimes, that’s not because we cannot keep our minds focused on reality. If we have this need to get out of reality to inhabit a fictional real, the “why” is quite the opposite: we consciously desire to run away from this frantic world of adults. And their frauds, their niceties, their misunderstandings, their foolish complexities. It was just like that with me. As a child. So bothered that Christmas would be the same. No silence. No way to read the book my friend’s mother had given me.
My first contact, a so stunning one by the way, with that book: the cover. Two different inscriptions. Both sounded strange for me. A name. Another name. Hans Christian Andersen. The Little Match Girl. A girl with her match. Match, match? Yes, her match. I remembered that Jacqueline had said something about this story: “Just letting you feel a different Christmas, a different End of the Year”.
Cold. Snowed. Dark. Three adjectives embracing the first-mystery scenario. A poor little girl. bareheaded. Bewildered? Lost in the dark. Naked feet. Naked ran(g)e too. Innocent. Crossing alone the dark streets while people in their houses for a celebration, a so satiate one. Inside: laughs, food, family, happiness altogether. Outside: the flakes of snow, hunger, loneliness. But also an obligation to that girl: to sell the matches she was carrying. No one to buy them. And now? How to take back some money to feed herself, her mother, her brothers? The cold increasing. Oh! a match could afford her a world of comfort. And then she began to draw one by one out. It warmed her. But only for brief minutes. She just wanted to warm herself. She flew then in brightness, above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety. She was drawing her matches out. When they were over, she got frozen to death.
This story, this girl with her matches, her death in solitude, and in hunger, and in innocence, and purity, and in anxiety, and in darkness, and in no despair, well, this story was the responsible for the adult reader I am today. From my nine years on, I decided to become a very reader, maybe one day a fictionist. Maybe. To look, not to get into a cloistered environment and just feast like the characters of Andersen’s fairy tale, those who were incapable to look around and see that poor little girl in her last breath, while freezing. Looking to feel. Looking to refuse. Looking to try to fix. That’s the origin of my invisibility. And that’s the peak of my foolish fictionisms.