I stole the title of this post from a poem by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, an Italian-American poet from Paterson who has an uncanny knack of telling my life story in her work. In the poem, the speaker describes Nancy Drew as the best friend she didn't have, the adventurous girl she wanted to be but was too timid. Like Gillan's eleven year old speaker, I, too, was a fraidy cat--fearful of getting hurt and getting in trouble, so my adventures had to be vicarious. And like so many of us who end up writers, I found those adventures in books. For that I will be forever grateful to Carolyn Keene, who allowed me to explore hidden staircases and haunted bungalows without ever leaving my house. And for giving me a smart, plucky heroine who had her own blue convertible (and who found solving mysteries more stimulating than her boyfriend Ned.) Nancy Drew was the kind of girl I could be some day, if I were lucky. As Gillan so eloquently puts it:
Nancy Drew, I still love you for taking me away with you, carrying me away from the tight confines of my life, to a place where everything is possible and bravery is common and miraculous as stars.
♥ ♥ ♥
Excerpt from Italian Women in Black Dresses, by Maria Mazziotti Gillan