Rob and I have been talking about Pippi over on his errata site. It's great to find someone else who is so into Pippi. I think she is one amazing character.
When I was in high school theatre class, we had an exercise where we had to do a character study. Pick a character, put together the costume, write a monologue and find a couple classrooms to perform in. Of course I picked Pippi. I wired my braided pigtails up with coat wire. I dyed a pair of tights: one leg green the other orange. I found fabulously large men's patent leather dancing shoes that were very long. I did not have a monkey. That was the catch - I was looking for Mr. Neilson in Mr. Slaymaker's Chemistry class and Mr Bemis's AP English class. I jumped on their desks - walked around on the desks in the classroom (while class was in session) and generally acted out a dream for 10 minutes. It was lots of fun.
A couple other stories come to mind.
In this time of transition, as I am specifically redefining who I want to be. Why not take my favorite things about Pippi and make them me? The things like, she always lived alone in a big house with a monkey and a horse and treated them like normal people. She had a suitcase of gold coins, but she didn't spend a lot of money. She liked to surprise storeowners by trying to buy lots of candy and toys and then flashing those fabulous eyes and pulling out a couple gold coins saying innocently, will this be enough? and then laughing uproariously. Her two square friends, Tommy and Anika, who lived next door with parents and all the kids wish for some of the freedom and stability of the other. Pippi has a connection with her world. She paid attention. She didn't try to be something she wasn't - she was a little girl with a lot of spunk and imagination. She didn't take shit from adults and required them to pay her attention. It's not that I want to be the living Pippi - but I want to take the best things from my perception about her character and incorporate it into my own hero with a thousand faces.
The other story I was reminded of happened the first week I was in high school. The scene is debate class. Our teacher decides that since there is some announcement that the whole school has to hear that it will be delivered in person to every class on a certain day. The debaters will be giving this announcement. It's about 5 minutes max, but it's probably most of the freshmen's first experience in "public" speaking. Debate teacher decided that the freshmen get to deliver the notice to senior and junior classes. Talk about jumping into the fire with public speaking. Here I am, all new to high school and everything that that mean. I'm the insecure 14 year old checking out the scene and just trying to fit in - not wanting to stick out or draw attention to myself. I felt like I was going to die. But I didn't obviously. I made the announcement without any mistakes and proceeded to have several senior and junior friends later that day in the lunch room. That experience wiped away my inability to act based on my own fear reaction. I was afraid to make the announcement, but I did it anyway. So now, when I feel that fear reaction (or a shade of anxiety) I acknowledge it, but I don't let it stop me from action.