An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading.
When I was little, my mom would let me watch a movie once a week while she cleaned up around the house. It was always the best day of the week. I'd watch movies in phases where I'd watch the same movie over and over again for like a month. There were a lot of Disney movies, naturally, and of course my much beloved Jurassic Park. And then there was The Wizard of Oz.
I don't remember the first time I ever watched it. The movie has just always been a part of my life, a constant part of who I am. My mom absolutely loves it, which is why she probably showed it to me. In fact we still have her copy from childhood, though it's falling a part. I have always adored it as well. The colors and the music and the humor never failed to amuse 3 year old me. The witch and Oz the Great and Powerful always scared the shit out of me as well. Though they're fuzzy (probably from the Malibu I've been drinking), I still have memories of cowering behind my blanket whenever the witch appears at the end of "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead", because that shit is (still) terrifying.
I loved the movie so much that when I was 3 or 4, I was Dorothy for Halloween. Of course, that wasn't enough for me, and for months I would put my costume on again and perform my one-woman show on my mom's coffee table. It was fabulous, I assure you.
I don't remember the first time I actually read the book, though I was probably in elementary school around the time. The first version I read was one of those cheap classics you can get at craft stores, which are made to be easy reads. So it was a watered down version. Eventually I got around to reading my mom's version, though I had to be very careful with that one and rearrange a few of the pages 'cause they fell out. I remember being confused at first about the differences between it and the movie. Like, what do you mean Glinda isn't the Witch of the North? Eventually I got over it and in fact, as much as I adore the movie, I do like the book better.
For my Sweet 16 I got my own copy, a beautiful yellow copy from Barnes and Noble. I think it's missing a few of the illustrations but it's still the same story. The first time I reread it since childhood, I was amazed at how violent it was for a children's story. Like, the Tin Woodsmen chops up so many animals with his axe alone it's ridiculous. It adds to the charm of it all though.
It's been a rough week and so I reread it. Honestly, it's brought me so much peace. When I was reading it last night I couldn't help but smile at so many different parts. Nostalgia aside, it's because the story is a happy one that burrows itself deep into your heart and warms you from the inside. It's a story about true, loyal friends and recognizing that the things you think you might be missing could be inside all along. It's funny and it's sad at the same time. Most of all, it has so much imagination and beauty inside of it, it makes you forget that things like flying monkeys and Kalidah's don't exist in the real world.
I love this story. Words really don't express just how much The Wizard of Oz means to me. One day when I have the courage (I know, I'm hilarious) to, I'd like to get an Oz tattoo. Still haven't decided on a design, though maybe of the China Princess, since that was always my favorite chapter. Or maybe something for the Scarecrow, since he's my favorite character. Who knows? I've got time.
Anyway, I'm glad this book exists. It makes my world more colorful and never fails to warm my heart.
Final thought: I read this quote tonight and for some reason it stuck a chord with me.
"But take care; for she is wicked and fierce, and may not allow you to destroy her."
First off, this line is hilarious. I love Baum's humor. Also, I know it's about the witch, but it feels like something to take to heart. I'd like to be so fierce that people feel like they need to be allowed to destroy me. Goals I guess.