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Child For A Day

I was a child
who ran full of laughter
I was a child
who lived for today
my eyes full of sunshine
my heart full of smiles
I was a child for a day.

We were the children
who sang in the morning
we were the children
who laughed at the sun
we are the ones, we would say...

we're gettin' older
as time goes by:
a little older with ev'ry day:
we were the children
of yesterday.
Who ran full of laughter,
who lived for today.


This is part of a song by Cat Stevens, "Child For a Day", written back in 1977.

Yesterday the den Haag City Hall Atrium was totally stuffed with little booths, holding 110 writers of children's books and their illustrators, all eager to sign personal copies for customers. The whole floor was also stuffed with kids from seven to ninety, I fall in there somewhere. And there were lots of activities in larger areas: facepainting, stage programs, a wandering giraffe, and even lessons for junior camerapersons.

So everybody of whatever age was a child for that afternoon.

This is an overview of the facepainting / crafts table, the kids are painting on styrofoam hearts and lollipops, and one of the Muslim moms is on her cellphone. That signpost with directions to places all over the world isn't a prop just for today, it sits in front of the ExPatriate office all the time:

And a closeup of the lollipop painter who's really a butterfly, intense concentration:

One of the stage attractions featured a storyteller-artist who gave a red marker to a volunteer, usually it was a girl who accepted (the boys here look bored, and that was usual); he invited her up on the stage to make a drawing on his big easel pad, most were simple curlicues but this artist drew a rather intricate pine tree. The teller then inscribed a huge dragon around it, making the tree into the firebreath coming out of the dragon's mouth, and he talked about how dragons can scare everyone in the kingdom if you aren't nice to them, all they want is a kind word:

And this giraffe costume is bigger than the girl underneath it, but she walked carefully and handed out Book Fair cards, even to the girl in the foreground who is a bit dubious of giraffes but accepted a flyer anyway:

My favourite was the patient photograper-portraitist, an adult who taught kids enough about how to operate one of her cameras so they could take photos of one another: this attracted quite the crowd.

She was managing to turn quite a lot of kittens on to photography, they asked lots of questions about lighting and other tech stuff: at least the older ones did.


Oh very young, what will you leave us this time?
You're only dancin' on this earth for a short while,
And though your dreams may toss and turn you now,
They will vanish away...
And if you want to see a better day
Will you carry the words of a love with you,
Will you ride the great white bird to the sky?
For though you want to last forever,
You know you never will,
And the goodbye makes the journey harder still.


That's another from Cat Stevens, from 1974. Many of his early songs have a serenity and peace about them, and are for and about children.

...who of course don't "last forever", we all grow into teenagers and past that into adults and grow through whatever joys and terrors that life writes on us. For however long.

I think everyone who is in the plastic and performing arts, to whatever extent we are and whatever our tools are, keeps some of our childlike excitement in creating and discovering and sharing with whatever audience we have. And *that* child inside us never really needs to melt away... guess it depends on what you define as "a short while" is, the time that we have to dance and create.

For ourselves and for others.

The eagerness and happiness of the kids *and their families* is what is staying with me, although the Children's Book Festival is long gone overnight, city hall stuff is going on right now. Doesn't matter. And all that delight is not tagged with any age numbers at all, adults were having lots of fun too :)

I'm excited at the moment that Eva Markvoort, who posts here at 65redroses, has just won national film awards for the documentary film she stars in, telling her true story as a Cystic Fibrosis patient growing through major surgery, her bilateral lung transplant. Guess the right term is "Dominion" film awards, because this is happening in Canada. And her surgeries do not appear to be over, either.

It's not just the people you read about in art books in libraries, or in college courses, that are timeless.

I think each of us can make her own art, however we decide. Timelessly.

And I not only think we can. We need to. Because it lasts.

Both the art and the experience of creating.

Blessings Be.


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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