Harriet the Spy

“I have thought a lot about being things since trying to be an onion. I have tried to be a bench in the park, an old sweater, a cat, and my mug in the bathroom. I think I did the mug best because when I was looking at it I felt it looking back at me and I felt like we were two mugs looking at each other. I wonder if grass talks.” (Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh)

I am posting about Harriet the Spy on the night before Halloween because in the morning I am going to don my old jeans, blue sweatshirt, and composition notebook signed Harriet M. Welsch with a flourish. I’ll also be attaching some binoculars and a water jug to my belt, and we’ll get to see how many kids at the children’s bookstore have read this key work of literature. I hope we have quite a few copies in stock – because I’m going to sell them out.

I almost surprise myself by how strongly I’m drawn to Harriet’s character. She is bratty at times, down right mean most others, and strikingly unsympathetic – but I feel compelled to love her in spite of it all. I wonder if it’s because of her stubborn self-confidence. At age eleven, she knows she wants to be a writer, knows exactly what food she prefers and precisely who she likes and who she hates. I have problems with each of those at (almost) twenty-five. So, for all of her quirky failings, Harriet M. Welsch knows what she wants, and perhaps, with my spy outfit on tomorrow, I will too.

Beverage: A friend recently taught me to make a fantastic cup of hot chocolate by boiling some milk and stirring in chopped up hunks of your favorite chocolate bar and a cinnamon stick.



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