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I'm the Local Gal in Richmond, Indiana, exploring my hometown and heart. I write about all thing local, sometimes global. It's a small world after all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Literary Love: Wonder & What's Real

“Never question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with wonders.” 

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One special aisle in the children's department of Morrison Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana held on its shelves a row of magic portals to the Land of Oz. I liked the movies, but I revered the books. Time and time again I would return to check out the Patchwork Girl of Oz, Queen Zixi of Ix, Ozma of Oz and the Emerald City of Oz. There were other magic countries by the Baum series. Not all of the books were even written by Frank himself. Some of the other countries I grew to love as much as the land of Oz, if not more than that first magic country.

As a child, I was troubled with big worries: mortality, religion and fear. It was thrilling to escape into a world where I was sure to be safe from these and where I could be sure that even the villains couldn't harm me or my beloved protagonists. 

My family did not go in for feminism (at least by label). Sandwiched between so many boys, who I sometimes envied, I did not catch onto the girl power trend that was present in the 90's. However, in an outdated series from long ago, I saw the future. 

The Land of Oz was ruled almost exclusively by women. The one male leader was a fraud (not malevolent), succeeded by a scarecrow (who was less and yet more of a man?) and all true, best governance was issued by a wise woman, namely Glinda the good. When the rightful ruler is restored to the throne, you find a female too- a young one at that! Ozma of Oz shares her power with Dorothy of Kansas, an ordinary little girl from the Midwest, who is a savior and liberator almost by accident. 

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In Oz, Glinda has a magic book that she can look into to see what is happening in the world (more than one!). I realized recently, as I pondered the wonders of the worldwide web that The Magic Book is very like the internet. In the morning, I like to wake up and Google countries to see what is happening. Because of the internet I can! I look to see what is happening in Nepal, in Latvia, in any country I might know by name. The internet is magic! Sometimes Ozma wants to look in on her dear Dorothy who lives in another world on Earth. She consults the Magic Book, just as I login to Facebook to see my friends on this side of the world and on the other. How far we've come from when I was young, and lucky enough to have access to an early computer the Tandy

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On Facebook, I watch the exploits of astronauts on the Space Station. On the NASA site I can see photographs of the outside of our world. And the magic of all of these things, stokes my imagination and my heart in the same exciting way I experienced as a little girl in the local library. 

NASA Photo of the Day: Image Source

Now the Oz series is not exactly revered in most literary circles. I can't be sure that it isn't Science Fiction, and I can't say with conviction that it is, either. They are silly books for silly children. But even in these silly books, I look back and discover wisdom, social commentary and forward thinking. There are beautiful ideas described so succinctly that even a small child can absorb them. For example: 

“In this world in which we live simplicity and kindness are the only magic wands that work wonders” 

Just a thought.

Because it is nearly Christmas, I'll end with this quote:

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“. . .It is the Law that while Evil, unopposed, may accomplish terrible deeds, the power of Good can never be overthrown when opposed to Evil. . .” 
― L. Frank BaumThe Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and an Insightful New Year to all my readers!


the Local Gal

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