June 26, 2012

artist date: pippi and a carnival

My last artist date was an unbelievably silly one, and I had the very, very best time! I was reading over the schedule for a local festival in Geneva, IL, called "Swedish Days." I love any chance to spend time in Geneva, so I was curious what I might find at the festival. "The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking" was showing at the Geneva Underground Playhouse as part of the festival schedule, and I knew this would be the perfect artist date!
"I always feel free." -Pippi (image from fanpop.com)

Is anyone else a fan of Pippi?? For those of you who might not know her, Pippi Longstocking is a character from a series of children's books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Several films and cartoons have been made featuring Pippi (whose full name is actually 'Pippilotta'), in addition to the books, but this film was my own strongest connection to her. (There is something about stories featuring red-haired girls, I just loved them! Anne of Green Gables, Annie, Amelia Bedelia and Pippi: perhaps one day I will have to dye my own hair red in order to pay them ultimate homage.) 
"The very air we breathe is sweet, not a challenge we can't meet, if it takes all day." -Pippi

I went to see the film as much from curiosity as admiration: I remember loving the film as a child, and the theme song still gets stuck in my head from time to time, which reminds me of spontaneous sing-a-longs with my brothers when we were small. One of us would get a song in our head, and several more would chime in, and it is a great memory from our childhood. Pippi's theme song was one of our favorite sing-a-longs. But I couldn't remember exactly how the story went, or what specifically I loved about Pippi, beyond her red hair and crazy pigtail braids and catchy theme song. 
 "The view's lovely up here." - Pippi (spoken from a homemade 'autogiro' plane she propelled herself, by twirling with her broomstick)

I am SO happy I went to see Pippi again that day! Yes, it is a very cheesy film, with very silly songs and rather ridiculous situations. But I was completely inspired by Pippi: her optimism, imagination and absolute honesty have continued to play back in my head ever since I saw it! And even the film's colors and fashions inspired me: Pippi's dresses in bright colors and patterns with their random patches sewn onto them, and Tommy and Annika's mom's outfits, which I would wear myself today. And SO many quotes and one-liners: I am obsessed! In honor of Pippi, I went on to celebrate my "Swedish Days" artist date by visiting the festival's carnival. I think she would have absolutely loved it! And Pippi's words played as my soundtrack all throughout, though I did refrain from subjecting anyone else to my rendition of the theme song.
 "They have forgotten how to dream." -Pippi

Pippi and her friends made tents out of quilts, a plane out of crates and a bicycle, and drew life-size horses on the floor in chalk. They had an ice cream fight, right out on the street, as if scoops of ice cream were snowballs. They ran from "splunks," and talked to animals, and took their tea in a treehouse. I cannot remember being this type of kid very often, and for many reasons, but I am reminded all the time of the important role my imagination plays as I seek to follow my creative passions. It is easy for me to be serious, but I find it so very difficult to let loose and play, even in my own head as I dream and write. 
"Isn't it great to be alive?" -Pippi

Of all of the silly things Pippi brought to mind and memory, it was her very life philosophy that has left me inspired. I fed my 'artist child' on this date, which is something I really just don't do enough. And I left with a lighter heart and a different lens: an ability to find joy and color and light in everything I encountered. I would like to hang on to that.

 "When you believe in something, you never give up." - Pippi

(Learn more about my practice of 'artist dates' here!)

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