My Favorite Stories: The Secret Garden

I absolutely adored The Secret Garden when I was a kid; I read the book dozens of times growing up, and both the 1987 (featuring a pre-Pride and Prejudice cameo by a young Colin Firth—even at five, I had good taste) and 1993 films were repeat rentals of mine from Blockbuster (RIP), though they always only seemed to have the opposite version I wanted in stock.

Sidebar: A Little Princess was another perennial fave—Burnett’s story aside, who wouldn’t fall in love with Alfonso Cuarón’s gorgeous film adaptation? Pure magic. But that’s a favorite story for another time. 

I honestly don’t remember what it was specifically about Mary Lennox and Colin Craven and Dickon that struck a chord with me as a child. Like many a little girl before me, I loved fairy tales, and while Burnett’s world was lacking the prerequisite fairies and enchantments, it had its own kind of magic about it.

That being said, I was psyched to see that The Secret Garden was the latest in a series of literary classics to inspire a new web series on YouTube. While there have been quite a few adaptations I’ve loved (Hello, Lizzie Bennet Diaries), there have been several that have, in my opinion, missed the boat (Sorry, March Family Letters—I really wanted to like you…).

I am pleased to say that The Misselthwaite Archives has been lovely. Though the series is only twelve episodes in, the creators have done a fantastic job so far of modernizing the series while remaining true to the spirit of Burnett’s original characters. Plus, I may have a bit of a girl crush on Sophie Giberson’s brilliantly deadpan and sarcastic Mary.

New videos come out on Wednesdays and Fridays, and additional transmedia content can be found here on their official Tumblr.

Sidebar: It took unbelievable restraint for me to not turn what was supposed to be a short, fluffy post into a treatise on transmedia and text ownership—I’ll save that delicious morsel for a later post.

Though I haven’t read the book in years, perhaps it’s time to revisit the moors and gardens in the pages of Misselthwaite Manor. The cover on the far left is the version I had as a kid. The other two from Penguin Threads and Puffin Classics are just pretty. I’ve been known to judge a book by its cover from time to time—I’m a sucker for packaging. It’s not too early to start building a library for my future daughter, right?

We’re all stories, in the end.


When I was in middle and high school, I filled a series of brightly-colored journals with the details of my days and adolescent reflections with many, many pages devoted to whomever I was crushing on that week. My senior year, I wrote near-daily posts on a Xanga back when Xangas were cool.

Sidebar: I use the term “cool” loosely.

I’ve written a column on my experiences while studying abroad and an entire blog on my misadventures in dating. I’m currently scribbling letters to my future husband, a project which has become perhaps a bit less prayerful and a bit more therapeutic the more pages I fill up in the manliest notebook I could find.

I have long flirted with the idea of becoming a novelist, but to date, I only have a couple dozen short stories and a handful of emo-tastic poems to my name. I’ve attempted to summit Mount NaNoWriMo twice, failing both times to spin into a book the one tuft of a story I could imagine teens and their cool aunts reading in a coffee shop and fangirling over on Tumblr.

Perhaps it’s special snowflake syndrome born of my being the baby of the family, but I’ve always thought my life was made up of a series of stories worth telling—and tell them I do, usually more than once and always with emphatic gesturing and occasional pantomime.

However, it occurs to me that in order to call oneself a writer, one must actually write. And I haven’t been doing much of that of late.

Back in January, as part of Blessed is She‘s #ProjectBlessed Instagram challenge, I said that one of my dreams was to live a life worth writing about—and actually record it. Wouldn’t you know I haven’t written a word in the three months since then?

So, in the spirit of forging new habits, I’ve carved out this space to write. Some posts may be fictions and figments; some may be memoirs in miniature. Some may be ruminations on topics serious, while others may be purely picayune in nature.

Sidebar: I like alliteration. I will not apologize.

Steven Moffat has committed many a literary sin in my eyes, but he did give his Doctor a line once I have long loved: “We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”

Here’s to good stories…welcome to Scribbles & Jots.

|photo by sarah horrigan|