I recently watched the movie An Angel at My Table. It’s a coming-of-age story about Janet Frame, a New Zealand writer who overcame not only a tough childhood but many years of being locked up in a mental institution. It’s a beautiful movie, for many reasons– you get a taste of New Zealand’s gorgeous landscapes as well as its hardscrabble sheep farming life, but mainly you see an intelligent and imaginative young girl growing up in a difficult environment.
Of course, for me one of the key moments in the movie revolves around a notebook. Janet is about 10 years old and already feels driven to write. Her father, an uneducated man himself, realizes that his daughter needs more outlets for her creativity, and one day he comes home with a surprise for her: a beautiful notebook. It’s just a wonderful scene– you see the joy in this young girl’s face and realize how special it is for her to have this notebook to write in. This would have been during the mid-1930s, when New Zealand, like everywhere else, was struggling with an economic depression, and any small personal luxury would be rare for the average person. Yet you can tell that she wouldn’t have cared about getting a doll or a dress or candy or anything as much as she cared about that notebook. And through it, you see how much her father loves and appreciates her, even if she’s a bit of a misfit and a mystery to him.
The rest of the movie chronicles her growing up and her struggles to deal with life as a woman and as a writer. It’s by no means a movie about notebooks, but that one scene is so touching and inspiring– it will make anyone who loves notebooks appreciate how much meaning they can have, especially to a child with stories she wants to tell.
Blog entry by Lovenotebooks.com guest blogger Nifty. Find out more about Nifty and her passion for notebooks at notebookstories.com
We have chosen the image of a Kikkerland’s Writersblok Notebook to accompany this Blog Post. Writersblok donates 2% of all proceeds to literacy projects for girls