Continuing with my idea of going through my old notebooks and finding passages from books that I think are particularly well written and have scribbled down over the years, this time I’d like to talk about Peter Pan.
I’ve always felt a huge affinity towards Pan. Both Peter and the goat-like Ancient Greek God of mischief, nature and the wild from whom he inherited his name - Pan. Indeed, I spent a great deal of my childhood running around, clad in green, trying my best to think something happy enough to get me airborne.
The return of Captain James Hook
However, before we get to the ‘bit of the book’, I’d like to explain that, to me at least, the Peter Pan adventure is only complete when it includes the movie Hook with Robin Williams. Peter Pan grows up and becomes a lawyer. He’s forgotten who he is and when Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) comes back and steals his children he has to learn to fight, fly and crow again.
But first, he has to get back to Neverland, and one of my favourite parts is when Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) comes to get him. Robin Williams questions whether she is “related to Mighty Mouse” before she knocks him down and while she paces up and down on top of him leaving tiny little fairy footprints on his white shirt (and before Robin Williams concludes he’s clearly having a nervous breakdown and that anyway “he doesn’t believe in fairies”) they have this argument about whether or not he is really Peter Pan:
Tinkerbell: Well, whoever you are it's still you, 'cause only one person has that smell.
Peter Pan: Smell?
Tinkerbell: The smell of someone who has ridden the back of the wind, Peter. The smell of a hundred fun summers, with sleeping in trees and adventures with Indians and Pirates. Oh remember, Peter? The world was ours. We could do everything or nothing. All it had to be was anything 'cause it was always us.
Back to the book
I’ll be honest, when I was younger I was too busy running around trying to fly, that I never really sat down for long enough to read the whole book. But there was one bit (near the beginning) that I remember, even then, that I thought was written wonderfully. It's about the first time Peter appears. Once you've read it, the next time you go outside and gaze up at the stars, you might remember to watch out to see if any are winking - as they might be trying to tell you something ;)
Peter Pans entrance
No. 27 was only a few yards distant, but there had been a slight fall of snow, and Father and Mother Darling picked their way over it deftly not to soil their shoes. They were already the only persons in the street, and all the stars were watching them. Stars are beautiful, but they may not take an active part in anything, they must just look on forever. It is a punishment put on them for something they did so long ago that no star now knows what it was. So the older ones have become glassy-eyed and seldom speak (winking is the star language), but the little ones still wonder. They are not really friendly to Peter, who had a mischievous way of stealing up behind them and trying to blow them out; but they are so fond of fun that they were on his side tonight, and anxious to get the grown-ups out of the way. So as soon as the door of 27 closed on Mr. and Mrs. Darling there was a commotion in the firmament, and the smallest of all the stars in the Milky Way screamed out: