Do you ever play the fantasy dinner guest list?
Invite anyone you like. Dead or alive, fictional or real, heroines, villains and heroes. Our lists change, depending on mood, memory, or interest. But a few big names feature regularly; permanent fixtures at our imaginary party.
Since the arrival of Bee, inspirational women and leading female minds have made up a larger proportion of my list. Women of history whose brains I can pick, whose lives can inspire. But Bee is still so small. And the likes of Mary Anning, Maria Merian and Frida Kahlo can make their debuts in fantasy lists of the future. There’s plenty of time for fossil collectors, naturalists and artists.
Right now, it’s Bee’s spirit I want to inspire.
So I turn to books. The stories of my childhood. The heroines I loved. Independent, unstoppable and unconventional.
There are so many wonderful characters I could invite…but there are only five empty chairs around Bee’s table.
I love Pippi’s lack of manners, her inability to behave within society’s conventions and complete absence of formal education. Instead, she excels at adventure and possesses a competency in housekeeping and self-care far exceeding her age. She is playfully unpredictable with superhuman strength. And her irreverent ridicule of some of the less desirable attributes of adult behaviour is delightfully refreshing. Pippi brings individuality, alternative perspectives and adventure.
Matilda is humble, down to earth, kind and caring, despite her immense intellect and extraordinary mental powers. She challenges and questions the adults around her, fighting for those weaker than herself. She stands up against the neglectful and the abusive. Matilda brings kindness, justice and a thirst for knowledge.
Small but mighty, Madeline shows that size means nothing when it comes to bravery. Sunny and bright, with a mischievous side, she’s not afraid of taking charge of the situation and speaking her mind. Madeline brings courage, self-belief and positivity.
Charlotte A Cavatica
Exquisitely unapologetic, authoritative and ordered, Charlotte is a spider you want on your side. Utterly devoted, her love and commitment to her friend is endless. Charlotte brings perseverance, self-confidence and loyalty.
Lyra Silvertongue and Pantalaimon
Lyra has a wonderful wildness and non-conformist spirit. She’s an adventurer, a questioner, and fearless in her search for knowledge. Her form-changing daemon, Pantalaimon, as external manifestation of her soul, beautifully counterpoints her reckless impulsivity, with level-headed caution. Lyra brings independence, leadership and determination.
I may be wishing my way into some challenging years to come.
But I’m okay with that.
Who would you invite?