innocence

Believe

butterfly on flowers

 

She told me to wish on a star because it will make my wish come true. Somewhere between stardust and sunbeams when dreams feel so real you can smell the rain, I almost believe. Then sleep falls from my eyes, and I’m hit with the starkness of reality.

She said that grown-ups can’t be happy because they’ve forgotten how to dream. In the fervor of her argument when her tiny hands fly up in exasperation while conviction invades every word, I want to believe. Then it’s time to come in from the chill, and I’m hit with the emptiness of silence.

She gave up on the little lost boy in a green hat when she turned seven. While I watch her scan the twinkling horizon for a hint of fairy dust in hopes that some dreams are worth holding on to, I begin to believe. Then her head drops along with those beautiful blue eyes, and I’m hit by tiny fragments of shattered hope.

She’ll tell you the greatest gift I ever gave her was life. Between the smiles and tears, hopes and fears, lost dreams and found things when I’m sure all strength is gone, I do believe.

I believe in her… and that is enough to make me believe in almost anything.

Is it possible to believe in something or someone so much that we live in the illusion of what or who they might become until reality catches up with our dreams?

In both writing and life I had embraced a type of idealism that dissuaded the possibility of anything save goodness and the best version of people. After spending far too much time in the bitter slice of what others accepted as real, I’ve chosen to return to a life that might resemble illusion or a dream land to those on the outside. As with my current relationship, this is a weighed and balanced choice because the purity of child-like innocence accepts the actuality of magic where reality cannot.

I believe in people, and their ability to do magical and creative and kind things in this world. What do you believe in?

Categories: angels on earth, belief, childhood, choosing faith, Drive by life, innocence, Rob Thomas, the universes we create | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

A Promise of Spring

000 winter road

 

Winter’s long hand is blanketing the world outside my door. The crystalline white swirls down, reaching over everything to hide color and light. Even the busy road vanished, now a silent empty reminder of travelers I’ve never met.

Somewhere in the distance soft light promises to break the spell, but I know it’s simply an illusion — my personal mirage in an entirely new desert.

On days like these the only sound is her laughter. Some video or other amuses her twelve year old mind into a fit of temporary joy, and I’m thankful to hear something other than my own thoughts. She’ll be here for a handful of years yet. Experience has taught me they’ll go fast, too fast, then she’ll tackle the world outside our door with fire and passion. Though I’ll miss her laughter desperately, I won’t hold her back, even if I could. She deserves a shot at making this life everything or anything her brilliant mind can imagine.

I see the stinging loneliness ahead, but don’t weep. In this weather, my tears would freeze before hitting the ground, and the beauty of this place inspires more quiet smiles than sorrow.

The only thing left is to wait and wonder what comes next, though all I see is the snow. No brilliant images of a house full of laughter. No fiery dreams of a hopeless romantic. No illusions of life other than the gentle cold of winter.

And in this I find peace.

The last few years have been brutal, and my passion for tasting life wanes with each passing day. Less of a retreat, more of a slow slipping into concrete reality. In the hollow left behind, no sound or pain exists, not even a whisper. And, in most ways, I grateful to finally understand there is nothing more than walls, laughter, and crystalline water.

Outside the world is still and cold, waiting for the promise of spring. Inside, it’s warm and laughter breaks the din of an otherwise motionless day.

Somewhere beyond my view things are changing, and I can’t help but smile with somewhat giddy anticipation. Perhaps I wait for spring as well.  Perhaps this dormant hibernation is simply a time to reorganize priorities and put a too long past to rest in the hard ground. Whatever the reasons, this isolation suits me for now, so I have to believe its purpose is yet to be revealed.

And in this I find hope.

Winter’s long hand will rest soon enough. For now, I cherish quiet days and the giggling of a not-so-little redheaded child.

Categories: breaking illusions, caves, Choice, found, hope, innocence, lettng go, the next step, what once was | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Magic of Writing

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Children amaze me. Not just their eternal sense of wonder, but their keen insight into worlds we adults no longer see.

Bug is planning her first series. She’s twelve-years-old. That’s right, not even a teenager and she’s begun to plan out something many adults struggle with daily.

She said to me tonight, “All writers are magicians. We all just have different magic tricks.”

The conversation came about as most do — the two of us planning out mom and Bug activities. She began by suggesting brainstorming session where we help each other through ‘stuck’ parts of our plots. (Yeah, I love this kid.)

I told her, “If you make the world real for your characters, then it will be real for your readers. ”

“Like magic,” she said. “I love writing because we can build entire worlds and make people think they’re real. Like my Warrior Cat books. I believe in Warrior Cat clans because the writers did such a good job with the details. They explained everything like it was real. So it is.”

Out of the mouth of munchkins.

We often forget the power we have as writers. Think about it, we create universes. And done well, people can live in them for a brief time. Done exceptionally well, people find hope and wisdom in the lives of fictional characters and worlds.

But we didn’t come by this knowledge through chance. These are hopes and dreams we carry with us. Wisdom we’ve learned by beating our heads against enough walls until we finally broke through to some sort of truth. Our personal truth.

We only hedge to write what we’ve learned because of fear. Fear of judgement, fear we can’t say it like we’ve learned it, fear someone will stand up and say, “You’re full of crap.”

Kids don’t have this fear because it’s a learned behavior. They don’t yet recognize the voices saying it can’t really happen, something like that can’t possibly exist. Nope, they still wait by the windowsill, looking for Peter Pan to whisk them away. They still believe in a tribe of cats, healing the sick with ancient natural recipes.

They still believe.

Somewhere along the line we adults stop believing in magic. Not all, but most. We got caught up in bills and responsibilities and reality. Yuckers. The magic inside us, the one still seeing fairies dance on toadstools, dissipates or disappears, leaving us neck-deep in what must be real. Because fairy tales are childish things, not fit for grown-ups like us.

This is the death sentence of grown-up reality.

We as writers must step back into childhood, into the magic of other worlds we create in our heads. Though responsibilities linger, we must remember stories are crafted for play, crafted by the magic within us. It’s the only way to make them real for our readers. If we can’t believe that these universes exist, how can we then possibly expect our readers to live in them?

We can’t. More accurately, we don’t have the right to ask anyone to buy into worlds we ourselves don’t completely and totally play in. Otherwise, we run the risk of being hypocrites. Really, think about it, asking someone to accept something we don’t. Just doesn’t sit right, does it?

Pen and paper, keyboard and screen, we are magicians. If only for moment, we conjure through words — our slight of hand the plot twists and stories secrets of characters and worlds. We must be able to step away from our inner perfectionist and all the industry jargon that chokes away the play in our writing.

We must believe fairy tales are real. It’s the only way to absolutely convince our readers that our pens are wands and our universes are playgrounds for their minds.

 

Categories: belief, children, innocence, magic, the universes we create, writing, writing is play | Tags: | 3 Comments

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