I think it’s the same for everyone. Certain elements from childhood never quite leave us, – sometimes for reasons we don’t understand. They can be entertaining to look back at, but even decades later one (read: I) can still feel an inch of their original effect. These are some of my things.
Jomfruslukeren – The Virgin Eater
I first saw this painting in the national museum of Oslo at the fragile age of eight. It is painted by the Norwegian new romantic painter Theodor Kittelsen, and the title translates to “The Virgin Eater”. It shook me to the core, and, – being fully aware of what a virgin was, I knew I would be part of its diet, probably after being dragged into the black ocean by its teeth.
Rundhunden – The Round Dog
Someone read this book to me when I was about four or five. I still recall the innocent drawings (especially her red rubber boots) with a sort of ambivalent mix of joy and melancholy. I seem to remember it had an unhappy ending, and I was just not ok with that. Seeing the pictures still breaks my heart a little bit.
Dynedyret – The Duvet Animal
My imagination has always been a tad overly developed, which tended to mess with me before I became a so-called adult, and mysteriously started liking horror movies. My fear of closets, monsters under the bed, and so on, kind of changed when my mother invented The Duvet Animal; every duvet is actually an animal whose life task is to protect whoever sleeps underneath it. I will confess I still think about it sometimes.
(I would put a picture here, but I have no idea what to put)
Lillsysterns undulat är död – Little sister’s canary is dead
At some point, my parents listened a lot to the Swedish singer Cornelis Vreeswijk. His songs are generally sad sounding, but this one basically had me sobbing hysterically, and was hence strictly forbidden to play in my presence. Its traumatizing sadness would enter me immediately and start the waterworks, and I would run away in tears. How could the canary just die like that, inflicting the little sister such profound sorrow, and more importantly; how could the world be so cruel?
Tordyveln flyger i skymningen – The beetle flies in the twilight
Having always been a bit strange, I preferred radio novels over TV-series as a child, and this novel by the Swedish writer Maria Gripe had me intrigued beyond what I can describe. Its mysterious atmosphere was created by elements such as ghosts, premonitions, dreams, secrets, and old letters. In fact, I think it was what planted the writer seed in me, and I still remember every detail of the story vividly and would love to read it again.
Mitt eget land – My own country (This title suddenly sounded somewhat politically incorrect)
Time to thank the Swedes for their contribution to my emotional development. This song (by Olle Adolphson) was more or less the only adult song in my children’s songbook, and I loved it so much, although I did not really understand its very poetical (and again, Swedish) lyrics. It was indeed melancholic, but I think I at this point had figured out that sadness too can be enjoyable if approached correctly.
Never Ending Story
I think most people know this cult classic (can I call it that?), that in my case left a profound impression. I used to watch the second movie over and over again at my grandparents’, and I was as in love with hybrid dog dragon Falkor as I was intrigued by the insidious snake neckless Auryn and dead scared of the insect-like giants and acid water that hero Bastian had to deal with. My grandfather gifted me with a similar snake necklace, and I was pretty much convinced it withheld the same powers as Auryn.
The first movie also had some seriously disturbing elements, like the Swamp of Sadness, where only those who kept hope alive would not sink, – and the gates where only the worthy could pass without being struck by lightning from the sphinx’ eyes. Even today I can’t help thinking; would I pass? (And more importantly, would my cats?)
The worst thing about this movie was the fact that I always watched it recorded on an old VHS, which ended before the last five minutes were shown. At twenty-five I purchased the DVD and FINALLY got to see it!
~This is what happens when one becomes nostalgic. My apologies.~