The year I was born, a movie came out called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I was too young, of course, to see it at the time, but later I would learn that it was based on a book with an even cooler title – Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Yeah, it had my name in it! This book was penned by Roald Dahl who would later become one of my favorite authors. The premise of the story, for those who don’t know, is that a poor child named Charlie Bucket is told a tale by his Grandpa Joe about an eccentric chocolate maker named Willy Wonka. Wonka was worried about “chocolate spies,” as apparently such a thing existed, so he sealed off his factory, never to be seen again. Until one day, the newspaper announced that the infamous chocolatier was opening his factory once more to just five children lucky enough to find a golden ticket in a Wonka Bar. Charlie found a ticket, of course, and was launched into a wild and weird adventure! And since actual Wonka Bars were also launched the year I was born, I’ve grown up with them, and have always wished I could be like the storybook Charlie, finding that golden ticket.
The story has been reproduced in film versions a couple of times, but I still prefer the book. Dahl’s wonderfully wicked wit is evident on each and every page. In its original form, however, it faced a bit of controversy. The Oompa-Loompas, who were workers in the factory, were portrayed as an amiable tribe of black pigmies, imported by Wonka from ‘the very deepest and darkest part of the African jungle where no white man had been before.’ After the release of the first film, which portrayed them as bizarrely orange characters, Dahl was challenged about the political correctness of his original vision. His publishers decided that version was no longer acceptable and they turned into hippies with ‘rosy-white’ skin. By the time I was old enough to read the book, all had been corrected and the main magic of the story was once again the focus. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a chocolate factory and the idea that dreams, no matter how far-fetched, really can come true for those with enough childlike wonder to continue to believe in them.
This message has stuck with me into adulthood. If I’m ever in doubt about my dreams, I just think back to this story and how keeping a child’s mindset can make everything magic once more. Adult life can often feel so daunting as we try to force our will on things that we want to happen next. Sometimes, it’s as simple as believing in the idea of a golden ticket. A chance to get something wonderful, just by believing it’s possible and being in the right place at the right time. And if you’re here tonight, that could quite possibly be you! For this post, I’m giving away 9″x12″ blocks of Stonehenge Aqua from Legion Paper (this one is for U.S. residents only) to the first 10 artists who haven’t yet gotten one of these! Simply comment below with “Dreams Really DO Come True!” and let me know whether you prefer hot or cold pressed paper. I’ve always been a dreamer. Life just seems better when you imagine it in a slightly more magnificent way. And I know, that one day, I’ll achieve all those dreams that are waiting in the background for me. They may not be granted in the form of a Wonka Bar, but they’ll happen in their own due time. That’s just a little something I learned, years ago, from my favorite book.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Cadmium Yellow Medium, Da Vinci Red, Ultramarine Blue, Terra Cotta, Burnt Sienna Deep, Opus (Vivid Pink), Ultramarine Violet, Da Vinci Orange, and Quinacridone Gold. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!