Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Well Loved Things

Before I was a writer I knew about Well Loved Things...

Well Loved Things have small ears, big ears, no ears at all, or perhaps floppy ears that once stood straight. They have some fur or patchy fur or fur coats that need patching or sticky patches of fur where ice-cream fingers hold them tight.

Well Loved Things have long tails or missing tails or tails that need sewing and seams that need stitching. Well Loved Things are missing that new smell, that 'just opened smell' and now, they just smell. Well Loved Things are torn, pulled, fought over, squashed, folded and threadbare. They are missing one button eye, both button eyes, two whiskers, the hat they came with, an arm and the velvet off the once black nose. But Well Loved Things don't care. Their flaws are completely undetected.

They are never missing their child... unless of course...
...they fall from shelves or bedposts or back packs on the first day of school. Well Loved Things fall from cribs and car seats and highchairs and prams and often from sleeping children's hands onto the bedroom floor. Well Loved Things fall from bicycle baskets and buckets and boxes and all sorts of hidy holes. They fall from adventures in doll houses, car garages and the tops of castles and cubby house landings.
Yes, Well Loved Things fall a lot, such is the life of a Well Loved Thing.
But Well Loved Things don't care.

Well Loved Things are too busy taking weekly, sometimes daily, trips around and around in the washing machine or important trips to the dentist or doctors office clasped in the arms of their child. They take trips to the beach, the park, Great Aunt Martha's house and maybe even to church on Sunday morning. Well Loved Things are busy being tucked up under blankets and suffocated beneath little arms, only to resurface at the bottom of bedsheets the following morning.
And Well Loved Things wouldn't have it any other way.

Well Loved Things are lost under cuddles when the thunder shakes the skies above, or lost beneath tears when nothing about the day went right. They are lost in cinemas, in grocery carts, in Mommy's bag, in the car or sometimes even over night at Nan and Pops. Well Loved Things spread sunshine when they are found and sighs of relief from worried parents who know they can never replace a Well Loved Thing.
And Well Loved Things wouldn't have it any other way.

Well Loved Things are quiet, when listening is needed and loud, when silence is scary. They are friends in darkness and solitude in crowds of faces. Well Loved Things keep secretes and tell no tales. They are the friends that never grow old, even when their seams burst, stuffing breaks forth and their child out grows them. Well Loved Things never leave, at least not on purpose, and they never forget. They remain, they are still, they are fixed in time and waiting... because
Well Loved Things are the important stuff of childhood.
And Well Loved Things wouldn't have it any other way.

My Well Loved Thing had a name. Mingy. A mangy teddy mouse with a scrappy tail. And even now I long to find him. In a box, somewhere, he still lives. Mingy isn't really lost, as Well Loved Things never are, because somewhere a child remembers. Even if they are now an adult.
In a box in my mind I have him safe.
A well loved thing that I loved well.

And now I am a writer I use my knowing of Well Loved Things to craft that same feeling in the words I write. I want my books to be the kinds of friends that never leave and never forget. The kind you can revisit. The kind that always have arms wide opened.

What about you? What Well Loved Thing do you have boxed in your mind? And what do you dream of crafting in your books?


  1. Well loved things to me, are always those things with flaws.Perfection, I cannot feel comfortable holding in my hands.

    BTW yours eyes read exactly how I felt when writing such *dance*

  2. You inspire me with your posts each day. Wow, Tabitha, you ability to stray outside the box and experiment with voice and words knocks me outta the park every time.

    My son has a well loved thing. His blanket and his binkie. I appreciate those well-loved things very much. They cuddle with my son at night. :)

  3. I'm not sure whether to be more sad that the last vestige of my childhood (my stuffed seal) disappeared in a Howard Johnson's when I was 13, or that my story ideas don't exactly lend themselves to the warm fuzzies. That said, I still have a massive soft spot for elegant, artlessly emotive writing, so perhaps I simply internalized my Velveteen Rabbit. *shrugs*

  4. I still have my teddy bear! His name is Teddy because I'm so creative. Santa gave him to me when I was four. It was a landmark moment in my life, it brought such comfort. He's a little worse for wear but I still love him ;)

  5. I'm attached to blankets, and I'm an adult! Yes, I still have well loved things.

  6. I agree with Sarah. Well loved things are those with flaws. I have many well loved things.

  7. I still have my well-loved thing. He's almost twenty-six years old, and I love him so much. This was beautiful!

  8. Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Beautifully-written! My well-loved Floppy the horse is still in my life, thirty years after I first met him. :-) He's too fragile to squeeze now, but I still like having him around.

  10. I don't have any well-loved things from my childhood, but I have a couple from my son's. My well-loved things now are people in my life. I can't think of any material things that fit what you so eloquently describe here, Tabitha.

  11. My well loved things are the diaries I kept when I was a teen. I didn't have a stuffed animal, but my daughter's Teddy has no nose and his front seam is sewn up with dental floss!

  12. The Velveteen Rabbit has some great company here. I love this piece. My Well Loved Thing is the truth, in whatever form I can find to express it clearly.

  13. I love the way you capture me with your posts. Well said again!

    Well loved things are the fuzzy cuddly remnants of a past you never want to forget. I hope my writing will evoke the same thing in readers.

  14. Wouldn't it be great to write a book that people remember in their hearts as a special thing? I think it would be.

    I still have my well loved thing from my childhood. It's missing a bit of its fur.

    Straight From Hel

  15. My son loves to smell his blankie. IT's so funny. This is a great post, beautiful. :-) I had well-loved things too. :-)

  16. Oh I loved this. It reminded me of my well loved thing, Henry a stuffed monkey that was given to me when I was my son's age. It is now on my son's bed.

    I dream of crafting stories that reveal life as it is with humor and sadness, and at the end I'd love my readers to feel fulfilled even if it is not a "happy ending" there can be some joy found in all endings because endings lead to something new...they have to.

    much love

  17. Lovely post! I've had many Well Loved things, but this post reminds me of the ones I've lost (not in a depressing way). When I was six, I lost one of my favorite bears (a SINGING bear) on a ferry. I lost a lot of really cool watches. Seven. I wish I was exaggerating.

  18. Sarah- oh, watches... yes me too. more than I care to remember.

    Stacey- I love your last sentence. That is how I think of endings too.

    Jess-My son is a blankie boy as well :)

    Helen- I agree, it would be nice.

    Tamika and Deb- thank you!

    Liza- I have many well loved diaries and journals. some are lost. Many are still with me.

    Karen and Abby- thank you

    Ross- your horse sounds lovely :)

    Kristen- LOL- beautiful thought!

    Jill- blankies rugs... you are never too old!

    Susan- flaws make for comfy soft things hey.

    Simon- well, you read me, so you must have a bit of the sentimental in you :))

    T.Anne- Teddy! Oh, oh sweet. :)

    Katie- you are too kind. Thank you.

    Sarah- beautifully said :)

  19. I have too many well-loved things. My husband calls it being a packrat--I think I'm just sentimental. :)

  20. I gave away some of my well loved things cause I thought I had grown up. Until I realized I missed them and I wanted them back. :(

  21. We have quite a few of these around our place. And I've noticed that when one gets buried under other things or misplaced for a few years, all those memories come rushing back as soon as you see it.
    Thanks for your comment. I'm looking forward to meeting you at the end of the month!

  22. A very sweet reflection. :) Well loved things are amazing in how they show us the things our minds are reaching out for.