Mud Pies and Bones: Writing and Art

from the Rocky Mountains

Lucy Simpson

Lucy Simpson
Monument, Colorado, United States
December 20
The Cleaner
I am a published poet and exhibited artist living in the shadow of the small, but lovely Mount Herman, a part of the majesty of the Rocky Mountains. I raise children, tend gardens, cook, write, clean, sculpt, read.....................................................................................


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JANUARY 5, 2012 11:06AM

Pollyanna Proud

Rate: 3 Flag

In 1913 Pollyanna was published, a somewhat syrupy book about an optimistic orphan child.  Eleanor H. Porter was the author, who gained wealth and fame as a writer of such tales.  Her tales were not critically acclaimed, but they were well loved.  Think Dickens without the surrealist elements.  Her's were darn good stories with a moral bent.  


Eleanor H. Porter

The book opens with the focus on Aunt Polly and her servant Nancy, before the arrival of the orphaned and impoverished Pollyanna.  Aunt Polly is strict, seemingly unloving and set in her ways.  Nancy is struggling under her workload and the constant scolding of her lady boss.

When Pollyanna arrives, she is given a bleak, unadorned attic room.  She confides a secret to the maid, who has befriended her.  She is sent to eat bread and milk in the kitchen, as a punishment on her first night.  She explains why she seems happy.  Her father taught her "the game" she says.  Years before, she had wanted a doll for Christmas, but only crutches were left in the mission barrel.

"Oh, yes; the game was to just find something about everything to be glad about--no matter what 'twas," rejoined Pollyanna, earnestly. "And we began right then--on the crutches."

Her father tells her to be glad that she doesn't need the crutches.  From then on in life she plays "the game."

As the book progresses it is often hard to watch her struggling optimism, when one wants to punch the aunt in the nose.  Still, we all would be better off playing "the game" with a certain amount of moderation.

For me, this means keeping my eyes open, so I don't miss those good things.  Like Pollyanna and her attic windows, which provide more beauty than any picture could, more of a sense of freedom that she could fly away, I keep finding things of beauty.  It does not mean ignoring the negative, the injutices, our own faults and the faults of others, it means that we cling to the beauty of something that grows in the cracks.   




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"Pollyanna" was enormously popular in its day. There were even Pollyanna clubs in state penitentiaries — men doing hard time — dedicated to playing the glad game. Thanks for reminding me of this book. Sometimes a feeling of gratitude doesn't come easily, and the glad game might be a good way of promoting that.
Hey Implosion.

There is still an ongoing club in Denver, CO. I don't think I could join a club. My main fear is that the ruthless Polyannas, getting the message wrong, would beat down anyone with a negative thought.
This is a great thought/lesson for a new year. I bet it will be difficult, but I'm going to try it. Thanks!
It was the very first book I read. Given to me by my first grade teacher, a Turkish translation. I was sick at home and she came to visit and gave the book to my parents to give me if they approved. I read it at least a dozen times. Thank you for evoking such cherished memories!

Thanks The Good Daughter and Fusun. I never read the book as a child. I got curious about it, because some people have accused me of being like the character.