Jete: Angelina Ballerina

This was originally posted on Book Writing World in 2011.

From the time I was small, I always thought I ought to be writing, but for much of my life, I tried to be realistic and deny any fancy thoughts of myself. So, when it came to reading Angelina Ballerina to my daughter, with all that pink glitter of the sticker books and the cute mouse you could distinguish from the others by her clothes, the best friend mouse who wore a different style of clothing, the bicycles and the country lanes, I shook my head in what I thought was disgust.

 
The happy family, the understanding teachers. A life organized around everyone’s happiness. This was Angelina Ballerina’s world and while I was never a fan of realistic fiction for seven-year-olds, I wondered who could relate to this stuff. My daughter liked her very much, so even though she wasn’t head over heels in love with Angelina Ballerina, we had a few books about her lying around.

 
I was so fearful of Angelina I’d even suppress a shudder when I opened one of the books to read aloud. Until the day I read out how, once she embraced ballet, her best passion, she got organized and made her life effective. She got things done, and not only in ballet.

 
Her parents no longer had reason to complain that Angelina didn’t put things away, didn’t come down on time, didn’t do her school work. Angelina Ballerina had organized herself from the inside out. In another book, Angelina even found an effective way to mobilize neighbors to help a retired, lonely, old mail delivery man. She became a good neighbor, a hero of sorts.

 
Who, I asked my sour self, could complain about that? No one, I answered.

 
So now I look up to glittery, young, wise Angelina Ballerina. Partly because of her, I’ve found that my instincts were right all along, that writing is the best thing I could do for myself. These days, as long as I write every day (before everyone gets up), I can almost do a jeté into the other things that life brings to me. I have Angelina Ballerina’s story to thank for that.

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