Friday, July 15, 2011

The Story Behind My Favorite Story Ever.

Right now I'm reading the book The Story of Charlotte's Web: E.B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic. It's been a cloudy afternoon so far in Charleston, perfect for curling up with a book.

For those of y'all who don't know, Charlotte's Web is my favorite book of all time. I appreciate not JUST the clever plot (a spider who writes? a talking goose? heck yeah!) but also the philosophy behind it, which is something we can all learn from. If you've never read Charlotte's Web, it's the tale of a pig and a spider's friendship: the unlikeliest of creatures forming an unbreakable bond while they spend their days on a farm.  It reminds me of the importance of unity, cooperation and friendship between vastly different people.

My Uncle Philip had a copy of the book on his massive bookshelf when I was a kid. I somehow got the idea I was going to read it one afternoon...and I was hooked for life. The tattered edition from the 1950's was returned to the shelf as soon as I received my own copy.

I now own about three versions of the book--including one in large print so I can still read it when I'm old--along with the original and the remake of the movie. And yes, the movie is great (particularly the cartoon-animated original) but the book is outstanding.

I'm loving reading about E.B. White's life so far, although I'm only on page 50. It now makes sense that he wrote this story. He was a child brought up in a prosperous family who gave him everything--yet he still craved the simple solitude of nature. He felt most at home among the tiny critters on the ground, the birds in the sky, and the peacefulness that a lack of society brings. He somehow understood, even then, that the universe is full of important lessons.

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