Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Mary Poppins and P.L.Travers
I just wrote a piece for the Sunday Telegraph about P.L Travers, which was published the day before yesterday, but here's the link, in case anyone wants to see it. Regular visitors to this blog may remember the ongoing conversations and comments about Travers -- she has fascinated me for a long time, and I know that some of you are equally intrigued by her (Henri and Gondal Girl both recommended Valerie Lawson's biography of Travers, 'Mary Poppins, She Wrote', which is very comprehensively researched). And I still love the original books -- they're so much darker than the Disney version, but when I was re-reading them earlier this month, I was drawn straight back into that world that I loved as a child. I think it's something to do with the mixture of the magical and the everyday -- tea and toast and taking flight... And I was always haunted by Chapter 3 of 'Mary Poppins Comes Back', when Jane goes through the crack into the willow pattern plate. It terrified me as a small girl, but there must have been pleasure mixed in with the terror; because otherwise, why did I keep on re-reading it? That episode -- 'Bad Wednesday' -- was one of the inspirations for my first novel, 'Wish I May'. I don't think I've ever told anyone that until now.