Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Magic of Pooh

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape
I recently watched Disney's live action Winnie the Pooh sequel, Christopher Robin, expecting to be disappointed. Pooh was one of my first real fandoms, although I didn't know the word at the time. Nor does my fandom have a thingto do with the Disney franchise, although I've been generally pleased with the way they've been done. My love affair with A. A. Milne goes back to a small, hardcover copy of House at Pooh Corners.

Pooh and friends don't exist in a traditional fantasy, comic, or science fiction universe, so even now, it's not what some would call a fandom. But when I was a girl, long before DVD or Blu-Ray, or even VCRs, I had books. I was also alone a lot, or at least without other children. My brothers were grown, and I was an "almost only." My parents had a weekend cottage on a lake in southern Michigan and we went nearly every weekend for three seasons of the year. I spent a lot of time outdoors, and a lot of time with books.

One summer, my father's uncle from Ohio came up to visit. He brought with him a handdful of yard-sale books. I honestly don't remember most of them. But House at Pooh Corners, I read over and over and over again, well into my teens. There was just something so...comforting about it. I know now that what I really adored was the way all of the talking stuffies and small forest creatures liked each other even though they all had obvious flaws. Pooh is, indeed, a bear of very little brain. Rabbit is clearly OCD, and Owl is a know-it-all. Piglet is too timid to survive on his own, Tigger has ADHD, and Eeyore, is of course, depressed. It doesn't matter. Theyknow each others'issues, but are friends anyway. As a child who was lonely and very socially awkward, that kind of acceptance was, indeed, a very appealing fantasy.

Years later, in grad school, I took a course on community leadership. Our text was The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. It uses the Pooh characters as a way to categorize people. I'm sort of an Eeyore/Owl/Piglet hybrid--issues with depression, insecurity and being a know-it-all. My husband is Tigger/Owl/Rabbit. He's far more concerned with details than I am, and not usually as gloomy. It's an imperfect psychological tool, but one that sticks in your brain forever once you've learned it. For those, like me, who have struggled, it's a nice way to remember that other people have different issues and need to be treated as important in their own right. Myvery favorite moment in the recent film is when the grown-up Christopher Robin calls his boss a woozle. And he's right.

Thinking of Pooh and friends leaves me with warm memory-feels from my childhood, and those of sharing the characters with my sons, whether reading to them or watching the Disney movies. I gave my Elder Grandspawn a stuffed Eeyore for her first birthday and the Smallest Spawn has Winnie the Pooh crib bedding. When the spouse and I are babysitting, we go on Expotitions. And right now I'm humming, "I'm just a little black rain cloud.." as I type. You know, as one does. And I'm looking forward to my next Expotition.


One of my earlier works has been recently updated and re-released from Supernova Indie Publishing. One Good Man, co-written by me and the lovely Lacey Thorn, is a ghost story and romantic suspense based on the urban fantasy of the vanishing hitchhiker. It's got a sexy new cover, and is availablein both e-book and print from all the usual retailers. Amazon link.

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