Andrea Bell’s The Wendy that Stayed

Posted on 02 March 2008 by Pickles

Sequential Graduate student Andrea Bell releases her first novel (words kids, the picture is on the cover), The Wendy that Stayed through Grad Alum Seth Jones’ KaviDog Press. The book is printed through Support your fellow SEQA student and get yours today! Catch Andrea in the building or order the book online here.

Wendy Cover

Cover art by Julie Collins-Rousseau

Excerpt from the text under more tag.


Remember, if you can, where you go when you dream. Imagine, if you cannot. Try for a pleasant dream, and not a nightmare. Nightmare places and dream places are paternal twins, but opposites. Seeing the face of one, we often call it the other. If you can truly recall where you are when you dream, you are a most fortunate person. Or maybe it is because grown-ups learn to forget the stuff of dreams and how to enjoy them… But whatever the reason, most people forget about the dream place they visited when they wake up. Dream places are easily discarded by the waking mind. It causes us no pain at all, but is ever so discourteous to the dream place. Humans, as any non-human thing will tell you, are ingrates, and easily confused. Nightmare places we remember, because the shapes of the darkness haunt the space behind our eyelids. Nightmares are much more memorable in their fearsomeness than dream places. So what we remember as a place of dreams is often the aftertaste of fear hidden behind blinking eyes.

Neverland is a dream place. For the most part, Neverland is a happy dream. It is filled with adventures and with the laughter of a hundred thousands of children. When Neverland was very young, it had trouble keeping shape. A discarded dream place is difficult to keep stable, and many are forgotten before they have the chance to ripen into true sleepy splendor. Fortunately, for Neverland, and for you who reads this, there was a boy who chose it as his home. That boy was Peter Pan.

Before Peter, Neverland lost its shape often, growing small or large, and at times shifting from wild to tame, without any real reason behind it; the whim of the dreamers of the evening, perhaps. After Peter came to the dreamland we now call Neverland, it became an island infested with enough adventure to enthrall any child. There was more to Neverland after Peter arrived than there ever was before. And, as Peter has always had quite an imagination, to enthrall such an active child requires the island’s constant attention.

Over the years, as the waking world changed, the dream places began to grow more wild and varied, stretching and contorting outrageously so much that any individuality was lost in suiting the demanding dreamers that happened to visit. So the island, Neverland, needed Peter more and more to keep its shape, and so made itself ever so much more exciting to entice him to stay. Peter, the boy raised chiefly by himself and cared for chiefly by faeries, found more adventures than it is possible to mention in any volume of writing, and left Neverland less and less, until finally he stopped leaving the island in the stars altogether. Neverland’s plan worked. So Peter missed watching what happened when the waking world grew up some. What use had Peter for the waking world when all the excitement he could ever require was just below the window of his tree house?

What Neverland in all its might and magic could not do was to conjure up a proper companion for Peter. Do not mistake me, the dream island tried. Despite the waking world’s bad intentions and disbelief, there were always faeries and mermaids and any number of fantastical creatures for Peter to stumble upon or clash with. But a creature is not the same as a person. By and by, as Lost Boys grew up and out grew Peter and his adventuring, and pirates began to lack a sufficient thrill for the boy who had been adopted by the dream island, Peter grew bored.

There was no one to share stories with. No one to crow his successes to, or to barely escape with. Peter might never admit what he really felt, but he did feel something missing. It had been some time since he had last gone to collect his latest in a long line of Wendy’s from the ancestral Darling house in waking London.

And so we begin our story when Peter finally left Neverland again.

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