Welcome back to The Power of Fiction! Last week, I spoke about how important fiction has been in my own life, and how I wanted to use this series as a way to connect with others. Stories are human; stories offer comfort, help us understand, and allow us to explore. This week, we will be hearing from actress and cosplayer Sinead Atkinson, who will share the beautiful story of her incredible connection with the world, story, and characters of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan and how she found comfort in that world years after she first ventured to Never Neverland.
Forever is a very long time, Peter.
by Sinead Atkinson
“So as soon as the door of 27 closed on Mr. and Mrs. Darling there was a commotion in the firmament, and the smallest of all the stars in the Milky Way screamed out: ‘Now, Peter!’”
My early childhood days were full of wonder and imagination. I read voraciously as a child and acted out stories of my own: one day, I was a mermaid sunning on the rocks, singing a haunting melody; the next, I was a knight, bravely charging forth into the heat of battle for honor and glory; still another day, I was a princess locked in a tower, devising an escape plan without a handsome prince. Magic lived within me, and my mom gave me the perfect fifth grade graduation gift: a copy of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
At that age, I had already seen the Disney version and the 1954 musical with Mary Martin, but was instantly enthralled with this version of our hero: my cocky, brave playmate. I, too, would close my eyes tightly to see the pale, pastel colors swirling in the darkness as they formed the colorful image of the mermaids’ lagoon. I belonged in Neverland: to me, the world sprung back to life whenever I opened those pages.
Over the years, the spine has almost worn away from its paperback cover, and its yellowed pages are soft and dented from constant dog-earing. However, it was the summer of 2013 when I turned to Peter again, when my mother was suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer. My whole world turned upside down. At the time, my sister was still in high school, so I was home alone the day my parents went to the hospital to hear what stage of cancer she had. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t do anything. For a while, I laid on the floor, shaking—and that’s when the battered cover of Peter Pan caught my eye.
I reached for it and began to read. Something in me just broke. I was twenty-one years old, no longer a child. I was an adult--I could never go back to Neverland. I didn’t want to grow up, but there was no turning back.
“I suppose it's like the ticking crocodile, isn't it? Time is chasing after all of us.”
My mom was lucky: the cancer was completely gone by January, though I couldn’t pick up that book until after I’d graduated from college. For a while, I held it in my hands and closed my eyes, willing myself to see the swirling colors of the lagoon again. Peter was waiting for me.
‘Hullo, Wendy,’ he said, not noticing any difference, for he was thinking chiefly of himself; and in the dim light her white dress might have been the nightgown in which he had seen her first. He was exactly the same as ever, and Wendy saw at once that he still had all his first teeth.
He was a little boy, and she was grown up.
Sinead Atkinson is an actress, singer, dancer, and cosplayer based on the East Coast. Please feel free to follow her on Facebook at Fairwind Cosplay, or on Instagram at @fairwindcosplay. I want to extend a huge and heartfelt thank you to Sinead for sharing her story. I'm so honored to get to read and share other people's deep connections with fiction.
The Power of Fiction is a guest blog series running alongside promotions for Fictitious, Lexi Vranick's fourth self-published title and second collection of poetry. Views of guest bloggers do not necessarily reflect Lexi Vranick's views.
Each post will conclude with new information about Fictitious, which will be available on Amazon on April 24, 2018. This week, I'm pleased to announce that Fictitous can now be added to your to-read shelf on GoodReads!