Yesterday, I worked a little bit on my newest Southern Fiction piece. I wrote a story within a story, because the main character Anna Kate told her brother and sister a bedtime story. Last night, I told my daughter Anna Kate’s story and it made her cry (yeah, I may need to work on it).
At yoga, while doing Savasna, where I’m supposed to be focusing on my breath, the story came to me. At the beginning of yoga, I talked to my awesome yoga instructor and my co-workers about how writing is cathartic for me. Earlier in the day I was lamenting that I had no idea what to blog about, and my story seemed to be going nowhere. And then, right as my body sunk into deep relaxation, and my brain cleared this story came to me:
Here it is, in all it’s glory, totally unedited:
“Once upon a time there was a fairy princess name Lucy. And she lived in a big castle with her brother, Ben—”
“That’s my name,” Ben said, bouncing up and down on his knees.
“Shh—” Lucy snapped at him and Ben stuck his thumb in his mouth sucking vigorously as he blinked away the brewing tears.
“Lucy’s wings had been snipped, and more than anything she wanted to fly. She wished so hard she could fly, but every day she tried and she couldn’t. Her brother, Ben, flitted around the castle and every day Lucy grew more and more jealous of his ability to fly. She wished with all her might that she could fly like Ben, but when she woke up each and every morning to try, she failed.”
“I don’t like this story,” Lucy said with a pout.
“It’s getting to the good part,” I said. “Just listen. Where was I? Oh yes, one day Ben flew far away, and when Lucy went to find him she could not. She walked out of the garden gates, and down a twisting path, and deep into the woods. The woods were dark and eerie, but Lucy, being the brave girl she was, walked on in search for her brother.”
Lucy and Ben stared at me, all eyes in the darkness of the room. I swallowed and continued the story, kicking the sheets off of me in the muggy room.
“Finally, Lucy came upon a stone house…”
“Oh, I know—it’s like Hansel and Gretel. Mama used to tell us that story all the time,” Lucy said.
“Let me finish, Lucy. It’s not Hansel and Gretel. Okay—Lucy came upon the stone house, and she turned the doorknob, but it was locked. She knocked and a kindly young woman with hair the color of chocolate answered the door. ‘Yes, child, what do you want?’ ‘I’m looking for my brother, Ben,’ Lucy said. The woman invited her into the comfort of her home, and Lucy was relieved to see her fairy brother sitting in the corner eating a bowl of porridge.”
“With brown sugar,” Ben added.
“Yes, of course, with brown sugar and warm milk,” I continued, patting Lucy on the head. “The lady told Lucy she had put Ben under a spell, and he would stay there forever, but she had a choice and could possibly save him. She could have her greatest wish granted and be able to fly—her one and only wish–or she could have her brother back. She couldn’t have both. She had to choose one. And what do you think she chose?”
Lucy yawned and looked at me. “She chose her brother, of course, but if I had really been there, I would have chosen the wings. Who needs a stinky brother anyway?”
It still needs work, but I like the concept. And when I told it to Hailey at bedtime last night, she was absorbed with the story. I added details, changed the main character to her and both her brothers played a roll too. And when I came to the end I told her she could have wings to fly or she could have her brothers back, but she could only choose one. And she started crying and said she wanted the wings but didn’t want her brothers to disappear forever! Poor thing. I comforted her and told her the point of the story, then she hugged me hard and went to bed.
I think there’s an important lesson in the story for all of us. Family and friends are so important, and they can often be overlooked for our wishes/wants. We get so caught up in the corporate grind, the business of life, in wanting things, and in wishing for our greatest dreams to come true that we often forget the most important thing in our life is the people we love.
What are you writing right now?
Next Sunday, on September 20, 2015, I will be doing a Question and Answer session on The Devil Within over on Reddit! Make sure you stop by to ask me a question!
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