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J.M. Barrie would be 149 years old today. Thank you, Mr. Barrie, for bringing us Peter Pan.

When I was tiny, probably four or five, my dad was on something of a Victorian lit kick. My bedtime stories that year were Sherlock Holmes (I loved the Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle and was indifferent to or afraid of almost the entire rest of the canon), and Peter Pan. Dad doesn't do voices when he reads, but he does do intonation, and he does it very well. Peter sounded like my dad when he was planning the next cruise. Wendy sounded like my dad when he was agreeing with my mom. Captain Hook sounded like my dad pretending to be James Bond.

I've never been a purist. I loved Hook just as much as the original book, and the 2003 movie more than the 1953 movie (Though Bobby Driscoll's voice shall never age.) I'm seriously enjoying the Dave Barry Peter books. And I've written/am writing morbid fanfiction, a sort of Peter Pan/Jack the Ripper crossover. I like it this way.

I loved Finding Neverland. Johnny Depp was fantastic, and so was Dustin Hoffman (in a very, very well done nod). I can't say if he captured Barrie, but I don't care. He captured the writer of Peter Pan as a force in a way that I can't imagine Barrie the man would have found an objection to.

I think authors should never die. I'm not entirely sure that they do. Peter Pan as a story and a character and a cultural force of sheer storytelling power is going to last forever.

(Also of note today: Howard Carter, archaeologist, and the anniversary of a religious hoax.


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April 2013

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