An act of recollection
“The Polar Express was the easiest of my picture book manuscripts to write… Once I realized the train was going to the North Pole, finding the story seemed less like a creative effort than an act of recollection. I felt, like the story’s narrator, that I was remembering something, not making it up.” — Chris Van Allsburg
If you’ve read Van Allsburg’s wonderful book (which is far more appealing than the movie that was inspired by it) you can probably identify with his description of that magical sense of “remembering” something that was purely fantasy, as if it has really happened. I don’t know why trains in particular seem to go so well with Christmas, but there’s probably more than one reason why so many people set up toy train sets during the holidays.
Another favorite at Christmas is the imaginary Christmas village. I have a tiny one that I seldom set up anymore, but I love seeing them in shops and especially in people’s homes. The author of one of the blogs I follow has posted a detailed tour of her own Christmas village, so we can enjoy this magical miniature world through her efforts; see her video embedded below. Thanks to Chris Van Allsburg, Ingrid Schlueter and others who understand that we can travel in our imagination to places unavailable to us by any other road.
One year ago today