“The life of every man is a diary in which
he means to write one story, and writes another;
and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume
as it is with what he vowed to make it.”
“The Kite,” “The Chess,” and “Neverland – Piano Variation in Blue” by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek (courtesy of Andrew Cooper):
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly,
you cease forever to be able to do it.”
“Peter Pan”, J.M. Barrie
Bird Creatures (courtesy of Claireonline):
1860 – 1937
Courtesy of AncestralTayroots:
J. M. Barrie was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland, the son of a weaver. He was educated in Dumfries and Glasgow. He studied for an MA at Edinburgh University. He found work as a journalist on the Nottinghamshire Journal then, in 1885, moved to London to work as a freelance writer. His home town became the setting for a series of stories and novels, including the successful “The Little Minister.”
Arthur and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies
His first play, Richard Savage, was performed in 1891 and was followed by Quality Street and The Admirable Crichton. On the death of his close friends, Arthur and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, Barrie became legal guardian to their five sons and Peter Pan was developed from stories he used to tell the boys at bedtime. It was first performed as a play in 1904, then published in book form in 1911.
Both Arthur and Sylvia died of inoperable cancers since in those days there was nothing, like chemotherapy, that could help them.
“Berceuse” by Armas Järnevelt, performed by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Neeme Järvi:
Arthur Llewelyn Davies and his sons
The trailer for the 2004 film “Finding Neverland” (courtesy of Miramax):
Barrie donated the rights for stage productions of Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, so that sick children continue to benefit from its success to this day. He was made a baronet in 1913, received the Order of Merit in 1922, and wrote many more successful plays before his death in 1937.
The gardens created by volunteers to give the sick children a “green” view, to help with their wellbeing.
Everyone must be familiar with the classic Disney film about the boy who doesn’t want to grow up, but J.M. Barrie’s book provides an altogether more poignant tale of the lives of Peter and the Lost Boys. Everyone certainly knows the story of Peter Pan and the Darling children – Peter’s loyal fairy, Tinker Bell, or his mates in Neverland, the Lost Boys, or their fierce foe, Captain Hook – through the many justly popular stage or screen adaptations of J.M. Barrie’s tale.
The novel, adapted from the original theatrical presentation, is a winning mix of drama and fantasy and has fuelled many productions, including a perennially appealing Disney animated film. Like its flying protagonist, Peter Pan is a story that may revel forever in never growing up.
Despite your familiarity with the outline of the story, reading it for the first time, you will find excitement and adventure on every page – Peter trying to stick his shadow back on with soap, teaching Wendy how to fly, alongside the intricacies of fairy lore and some scary adventures amongst pirates and redskins in the colourful world of Neverland.
“Lost” by Peter Gregson (courtesy of Sono Luminus):
We all know characters like Peter Pan; irresponsible, forgetful, fiercely independent and living only for the moment.
Will, they always stay the same? If so, what will become of them? Part of the attraction of Barrie’s magical world is the authenticity of the intense human emotions he explores. The story will astonish you with its sophistication, allusiveness, and compelling, yet paradoxically reflective, storytelling. For all its fantasy and adventure, the book is very much written from an adult perspective: it is, in a way, a long meditation on the inevitability of leaving the magical precincts of childhood.
“All children, except one, grow up,” it begins, and while Peter is the ageless wonder who soon charms us, his endless youth cannot sustain the reality of life.
“Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children’s minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for the next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day.”
There follows an extraordinary disquisition on the “map of a person’s mind” that will amuse young readers with its whimsy and fill older ones with wonder, and probably a few tears, as they reach its conclusion, that nothing will stand still.
Uniquely targeted, with perfect aim, at both children and adults, Barrie’s masterpiece is the perfect vehicle to introduce a family to the pleasure of reading aloud, for it allows each audience to lose itself in its own transporting reverie.
“To Hold the Stars in the Palm of Your Hand” by Chad Lawson:
An extract from “Peter Pan”:
“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this forever!’
This was all that passed between them on the subject, but hence-forth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end. Of course, they lived at 14, and until Wendy came her mother was the chief one. She was a lovely lady, with a romantic mind and such a sweet mocking mouth. Her romantic mind was like the tiny boxes, one within the other, that come from the puzzling East, however many you discover there is always one more, and her sweet mocking mouth had one kiss on it that Wendy could never get, though there it was, perfectly conspicuous in the right-hand corner.
The way Mr Darling won her was this: the many gentlemen who had been boys when she was a girl discovered simultaneously that they loved her, and they all ran to her house to propose to her, except Mr Darling, who took a cab and nipped in first, and so he got her.”
“In Search of Peter Pan” by Kate Bush (courtesy of MrMarrs):