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Thursday Myths & Legends 101: Neverland

Second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning.

I have a confession to make.  I love Peter Pan.  I think I’ve been an escapist my entire life, and when you’re little, Never Never Land is the ultimate in escapism.  Really, there’s mermaids, pirates, indians!  What more could you want?  (If you were like me as a kid, I was sold at mermaids!)

J.M. Barrie described Neverland as the map of a child’s mind, therefore it varies from child to child, so I really can’t give you a point-by-point description of the island (it’s always an island).  The best I can do is to encourage you to think back to how you imagined Neverland to be.  Mine, personally, was full of bright colors and was suspiciously influenced by the 1960 Mary Martin film (I cannot tell you how much I wanted a seat-sized toadstool after watching that movie. So, so much.)

The way to find it is always the same, second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning—of course to the right of what precisely is up to you—but if you’re meant to get there, you’ll know.  It is also told that you can see Neverland, if you try.  When you close your eyes really tight and the blackness explodes in bursts of impossible colors?  That’s Neverland.  It’s also meant to be the place just between waking and sleeping, that moment when you’re conscious, but still wrapped up in dream.

But really what’s magical about Neverland is how with just the slightest of suggestions J.M. Barrie managed to create a whole new, totally accessible and fully-customizable fantasy world.  There are several reasons why Peter Pan is a classic, and Neverland is a big one.

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