WRITE YOUR OWN STORY
by Granny B
Happy Eleventh Birthday Sandy.
I love you. Keep writing your stories.
While the rest of her family was busy watching a movie, Sandy sauntered through the house deep in thought with a notebook in her hand.
“Come watch Princess Pink’s Magic Kingdom with me,” her sister begged jumping up from the couch. “Please.”
“No thanks,” Sandy said, “I’d rather write my own stories.”
Sandy imagined she was Sherlock Holmes as she continued pacing about the house with a keen eye. She turned on her story brain by playing detective. Everywhere she went she studiously observed her surroundings and carefully listened. Her grandmother once told her that you can write a story in your mind while you are doing something else like washing the dishes or walking home from school.
“I want to be a writer like you when I grow up,” Sandy said to her grandmother when they were sitting next to each other one day.
“What a pleasant idea,” her grandma answered. “We writers should stick together; for we all like to gather words like clouds, let them rain and then make the sun come out again. It is the perfect line of work for those of us who want to live lives with happy endings.”
“There are stories circling around in my head all time,” Sandy said. “Sometimes I hear people talking to each other in there.”
“Me too,” Grandma answered. “I still don’t have all my stories out. Did you know that when you love to read and write you always have somewhere interesting to go even when you have to stay where you are?”
“What is the best way for me to practice writing?” Sandy asked.
“Listen carefully, feel deeply, read widely and write every day,” her grandmother answered.
So Sandy listened carefully to the way her mother and father spoke to each other across the kitchen table and practiced writing their dialogue in her notebook. She read The Secret Garden and grew curious to learn about the life of the author Frances Hodgson Burnett. She wrote a few verses about their apple tree sending blossoms into the air like wee parachutes. Then she tucked those lines of verse inside her idea folder. Mysterious plots, good versus evil themes and noble characters were stacking up in the accordion file of her mind getting ready to be played. Sandy listened to narratives writing themselves inside her head everywhere she went. She didn’t have enough time to write them all down; she had to choose. Choosing was hard.
Sandy tried out her latest story on her younger brother when she tucked him in.
“Once . . .” she began, “There was a purple ballerina who couldn’t stop dancing.”
Her brother gave her a blank stare and grunted so Sandy changed up the plot a bit. “Once upon a time there was a dinosaur that ate little boys!”
With wide open eyes her brother stopped wiggling and waited for the rest of the story.
Sandy pulled out her notebook and wrote, “Good stories need a villain.” When her story went too long, her little brother fell asleep; so she added, “Little boys like short stories.”
Sandy also liked to try out her new stories with her older sister when they were falling asleep in their twin beds in the basement at night.
“Once upon a time there was a girl who liked to write stories,” Sandy began contemplating being the star of her new interesting plot.
She heard her sister yawn.
“Once there was a girl in junior high that discovered a hidden door behind the blackboard in her English class.”
Her sister sat up excited to hear the rest of the tale.
The next morning Sandy pulled out her notebook and wrote, “People like stories with a little mystery thrown in.”
Then Sandy headed upstairs for breakfast and walked straight into a wall because she had her nose in a book. She heard her brothers and sisters laughing at her in the kitchen.
“Stop laughing at me,” Sandy said.
Her siblings laughed even louder. Sandy stopped being embarrassed and laughed along with them.
“People like stories with characters that make them laugh,” Sandy wrote in her notebook after breakfast.
Later that night Sandy’s father tucked her into bed.
“Will you tell me a story?” Sandy asked.
“Once upon a time, there was a girl who had more tales and yarns in her head than pieces of sand on the sea shore. Every day she told a brand new story to anyone who would listen until she was very old. When she had grey hair and lots of wrinkles, she told stories to her grandchildren. She never ran out of stories. The end.”
“Is that a story about Grandma or me someday?” Sandy asked.
“Yes,” her father answered.