Wednesday, July 11, 2007:

children and cartwheels and chandeliers

Elizabeth Mitchell -- Who's My Pretty Baby
At ten years old, there was nowhere Elizabeth Mitchell would go that couldn't be gone there by cartwheels or somersaults. At ten and a half she learned how to walk on her hands and was sure that her feet would never touch the ground again. She insisted that her parents lower the counters throughout the house. They refused, so she insisted they buy her stilts. Her parents did not want to take down the chandeliers or to clean footprints from the ceiling, and it seemed sure the situation was headed towards a crisis. Luckily, Elizabeth's uncle was clever enough to buy her a guitar for her birthday. It was a challenge for Elizabeth to play A maj with her feet, but G maj was impossible. B7 was whatever was a step beyond impossible. Elizabeth decided she could sit "like normal," provided no one saw her; and that her feet could touch the ground as she sat, provided she washed them afterwards.

Each day her parents would make excuses to pass her door and overhear her practicing, and each day when she was done she'd put the guitar away and walk on her hands to the kitchen to find a snack. And each day her mother would say "don't ruin your appetite for dinner, honey," and each day Elizabeth would say "yes ma'am."

And then one day her parents heard her practice stop and the door open, and Elizabeth came walking down the hall but not to the kitchen, and on her feet, not on her hands. She was carrying her guitar and she walked into the living room where her astonished parents sat, and she stood there in front of them and said "Mom. Dad. Listen to this." And then she played something which sounded like all the joy and energy of an eleven-year-old channelled into music.

You Are My Little Bird is an album for children. Jordan @ Said the Gramophone posted "Three Little Birds" in March, and then Folkways sent me the CD as part of a package of promo materials. I do like it, but am sure that my niece would like it even more.
[Elizabeth Mitchell @ Folkways; various reviews @ Ryko Distribution]

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Very much like something from a Shel Silverstein poem if directed by Robert Altman.

Does that make any sense?

Hmm...Every Shel Silverstein reference reminds me that he did all the cartoons in Playboy.

Thanks, rip roarin. I wasn't thinking of any children's author in particular, but it does have a Shel Silverstein flavor ("I want the pancake in the middle").

Altman, huh? I'm a big fan of The Player and McCabe & Mrs. Miller, though neither of them are his lightest/cheeriest work.

I love Elizabeth Mitchell. LOVE. What a wonderful voice.

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