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by mana on January 20th, 2012

Snow White

Snow White

I vividly remember the first book that really captured my imagination. It was Blanche Neige, the French version of Snow White. I got it as an award in 3rd grade for my outstanding French language comprehension. I became lost in the world of Blanche Neige, the pretty, innocent and kind lady who seemed to die and was revived by a prince. I forgot about my homework and fantasized about the prince who would save me from everything that bothered me. In my mind, the characters of that fictional world felt real. I even imagined that I might have to eat a bad apple to be saved from the horrors I felt around me.

As much as I could identify with Blanche Neige, I still felt lonely. I could not converse with her, and in contrast to her dramatic rescue, I had no instant way to change my own destiny. I felt better when I didn’t open that book again because it only took me away from pain for a short time. I needed to put the book down and deal with the realities. Ironically, closing the book and getting away from it made me feel better. I was not at the mercy of the story.

The memory of what I felt that day has traveled with me through time and place and today as I look back, I think differently. This book was the beginning of my fascination with creation.

Today, as I am reconnecting with old friends and creating new friendships, I see books from a new perspective. It is as important to discuss them with people as it is to read them. It is through this collaboration that we sort through the maze of ideas and feelings, and even find inspiration for new projects and advances. Maybe there are times when we just want to get away and our mute companions who do not argue with us or ask things from us can make us feel better. But in the long run, the lonely immersion in other people’s creative worlds can take a toll. I am changing my relationship with books and the seed of that was Blanche Neige. I am seeking the pursuit of ideas and stories through live communication created between the reader and writer, the common grounds for friendship and companionship, dialogue and finally the creation of my own plots.

This Sunday, I will be meeting with some friends to discuss the Tintin Book “The Crab with the Golden Claws” after we see the Spielberg movie “The Adventures of Tintin,” which is mostly based on it. The Belgian author and artist Georges Prosper Remi, pen-named Hergé, completed 23 comic books in The Adventures of Tintin series, which he wrote and illustrated from 1929 until his death in 1983.

Voyage and discovery is central in all of Herge’s work. “The crab with the Golden Claws” was written in German-occupied Belgium during World War II. Hergé created the comic most likely to escape from those realities. He had to move the focus of Tintin’s adventures away from current affairs, in order to avoid controversy.

Looking at the Tintin comics, I get submerged in the stylized way Hergé draws the water, his fresh and clean palette of colors, the humanlike expressions in the face of Tintin’s dog Snowy, the lovely character developments and the amazing ability to express speed. He is famous for having created the “ligne Claire” style in which he uses strong lines and pays equal attention to every element. We will have a lot to talk about as we discuss Hergé’s art on Sunday.

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