Thursday, 1 February 2018


February brings Valentine’s Day, which reminds me how often a cheerful heart is needed in the writing life.

Unfortunately, like an over-long January, my naturally gloomy mood is dominating too much right now. I am like Eeyore, all alone in the corner of a thistle-field, staring at an empty honey jar and burst balloon, wary of hope – which is not a good way of facing the future. 

So I have decided to take some of the other characters of The Hundred Acre Wood for my moods and life lessons this month. I will become like Pooh. I will plod along and get on with the task even when I don’t quite understand all it involves. I won’t be easily diverted from the thing in mind or too discouraged, even when accidents happen, I will enjoy good things and good friends.

I regret there may be a touch of Rabbit: practical-minded but with a bossy streak and easily annoyed by others, as well as annoying. (Oh dear! Must watch out for that.)
On the other hand, let there be plenty of Piglet. One can feel quite small and inconsequential in this large tree-filled wood, but one can still try things out and notice people and question what you see before you, such as the pattern of footprints in the snow.

I’ll have some Tigger too, please. After a run of horrid colds, I need some of that enthusiasm and boundless energy. 

Therefore I am determined to spend time out of my seat and away from my desk, being excited by things. 
I will dance secretly to cheerful music instead or at least enjoy waving my arms about as a Library Story-time Volunteer.

Owl? I will copy the silent confidence and self-belief of Owl, though not the vanity. Even when I can see things are wrong with my spelling - or work-in-progress - I will find ways of making the words come out right.

I need to remember those Kanga & Roo lessons too. I will look after my inner child and make sure there’s time for play, rather than staying in the thistle-field, doing nothing much. I will attend to my health (see Tigger, above) and life-style too, and be forgiving of silly moments when I’ve jumped about too noisily and stupidly.

Finally, I’ll do all this with a hint of a happy Christopher Robin about me: I’ll make sure to meet up with my friends, family and relations, be ready to sort out any scrapes that arise and enjoy adventures and celebrations - snow, rain or sun. A nice idea, perhaps?

Wishing you cheerful hearts for February, too.
Penny Dolan

p.s. I know a rather melancholy Christopher Robin film came out recently, but I'm writing this without having seen it so please bear with my fantasy - and note that my Hundred Acre Wood dream is drawn by E.H. Shepard and never, ever by anyone else.


Joan Lennon said...

Lovely post, Penny! I have a drawing of Winnie the Pooh sitting on a stone, paddling his back paws in a stream and gazing at a dragonfly, by my computer - by E.H. Shepard OF COURSE - and it reminds me about peace and awe and quiet pleasure. Sending us all some of those for February!

Susan Price said...

Oh Penny! - Be all those animals, but replace your Eeyore with Donkey from Bremen Town Musicians, who, when trouble strikes, says, "I'll go to Bremen! I'll be a musician -- I have a fabulous voice! I'll be famous!" And off he goes, and finds friends and happy ending with his boundless happiness and confidence.
You are so often quick to cheer us all up that I'm sad to find you having an Eeyore moment. Hope it passes soon.

Sharon Tregenza said...

I enjoyed this post, Penny. Always a source of inspiration, the lovely Winnie.

Penny Dolan said...

Please don't worry, Sue, though thank you. I'm not in darkest angst and despair, just recognising the fact that Eeyore tends to become my default mode, and that I should be more positive. The Bremen Town donkey sounds a good example to follow!

I think I have that same drawing here on a mug, Joan. Unfortunately, a rather small mug that's not quite big enough for a good drink of tea or coffee or as a useful pencil pot. See what I mean about the Eeyore tendency?

Steve Gladwin said...

That's such a lovely post, Penny. I've just been to a monthly carers workshop and just wish I'd seen it before as everyone would have loved it. It's also of course Imbolc, the snowdrop season of slow growth which we don't always see! x

Moira Butterfield said...

I heartily concur with the need to shake off that Feb feeling. Wishing you lots of lovely 'footprints in the snow' moments, Penny.

Lynne Benton said...

Don't be wary of hope, Penny - it's what we all need, especially at the moment. I never think of you as an Eeyore, but instead will imagine you dancing secretly to cheerful music, bringing out your inner Tigger!

Penny Dolan said...

Hadn't realised it was Imbolc today till well into the afternoon, but it did today did have the change of mood about it. Thanks for the thoughtful words, Steve & Moira & Lynne.

Sue Purkiss said...

Lovely! you're going to be very busy, though, remembering all the things you have to be...