"I know an old lady who swallowed a fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly!
I guess she'll die!"
A lot of children still read Rose Bonne's story "I Know An Old Lady" -- surely one of the grimmest children's poems in existance. It's been cutesy-fied and cleaned up, of course. But a couple of years ago, my brother presented me with a fabulous gift: the 1961 hardback version that we had in our childhood, a book filled with the strange, abstract and wonderfully grotesque illustrations of Abner Graboff.
I look back on things like this and wonder how they influenced my life today, especially in my appreciation for creatures that so-called normal people find abhorrent.
For instance: I love spiders. Currently, we have a fabulous, gigantic cross spider on the outside of our kitchen window that I could watch for hours. I've dubbed her Shelob for her intimidating size (although she's only about 3" at full stretch and doesn't seem to have a taste for Hobbits).
It kind of breaks my heart to think of all the people who are scared enough by spiders to instantly squash or gas them at first site. These are incredibly beneficial insects...not to mention fascinating, strong and gifted. I think lately there are many times I would like to have eight appendages and eyes. And a pair of venomous fangs. heh.
But I digress. I have carried on to the point of boredom about how great spiders are. For you guys, it's like singing to the choir, right?
I am less loving of house flies, for sure. But that hasn't stopped me from stealing from the nasty pests for my Halloween costume this year; my husband and I are going to a party as the two morphed characters of the classic 1958 movie The Fly: the lab-coat wearing, claw-flashing, fly-headed creature (me, probably), and the fly-bodied man-headed being (hubby).
Believe it or not, I got the idea about a year ago after stripping off my black bra, tossing it toward my husband, and watching it land on and straddle his head like - you guessed it - a pair of fly's eyes.
Inspiration comes from the strangest places, doesn't it?