“Mommy, will you make up a story?” the boy asks.
“Sure. Ok, once upon a time there was a big boy named Jude…”
The story always begins this way. What comes next runs a gamut wider than Lake Champlain (the wide part) ranging from literary genius to truly unexceptional. Some nights I dread this predictable request, knowing that my creative well echoes deep with fallen rocks. I wonder at this shortcoming, and others of similar nature, what it is inside me that makes or breaks a good story for my son? When creativity dries up it throws me into an uncomfortable rut of eggs for dinner and tired story repeats at bedtime, both of which are vigorously disputed by various family members.
It has taken me some years to know this thing about myself-I need a source to keep me full. Creatively, there is nothing that can inspire and move me more than the written word. I need to read. I need to read things about botany and tragedy and things that make me outraged. I need to read poetry in a major way. The kind of poetry that can mean just about anything I want it to, and also the kind that leaves no room for interpretation. I need to read old British literature and temper it occasionally with an overindulged American novella. I need to read blogs, for goodness’ sake. Blogs by people I know, blogs about how to make Swiss meringue buttercream, and blogs that pour water over dry ground. I need to read about God and people and how God relates to people and people relate to God. Oh, and give me a memoir about any ol’ schmo and I’ll give you my best bedtime story ever.
The source is important, you will know yours when you see it. It will be that thing that clears your head and gives your hopes and dreams the luster of attainability. When you discover it, stake your claim to it. Plant a flag so you won’t forget where it is. Then, return to it. Often. Your kids will get better bedtime stories and you will save money on those expensive organic eggs. Cage free.
What is your source?
Books! the desert to our life. Never nag your kids to clean their room while they are in the middle of reading !
Christin, yes, reading is very fascinating and covers such a wide range —
and goes with you from very young to very old — brings so much happiness.
Thank you for sharing some of the books you’ve read.
Reading more…yes, maybe that will help with my story-telling imagination. Used to so much and now, not as much as I’d like. Love having a friend like you who can inspire and challenge me to read the good stuff.
Loved this Christin! I, too, find that I need to read and read often. I love children’s classics, since I seem to be a child at heart 🙂
Well put. Regardless of the subject, your writing always inspire me. This post in particular is so true. Speaking of telling stories, have seen story cubes? Henry got them for his bday. You can get them at buttered noodles. Neat.
Thanks Heather! Omg, the story cubes! I just looked them up and I need them. I saw a similar idea, story stones, somewhere, and last summer I gathered a ton of smooth stones at the river. I was going to paint things on them, just like the cubes. But recently I threw them all in the sandbox, not going to happen. 🙂