The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
Mother Goose Rhymes, Grandma Moses’ poems, Little Golden Books, Nancy Drew’s many adventures, the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden, Pippi Longstocking….
All stories I craved as a child. Gobbling them up one after the other.
Curiosity. Escape. Imagination.
Or maybe because I loved to read.
Storybooks drew me in as nothing else could.
My public elementary school was part of the Scholastic Books program. Students could order paperback books for 25¢ or 35¢ each. Sized just right for a 10 year old with titles such as Encyclopedia Brown…Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine…Just Plain Maggie. To name just a few. Piled high on tables in the gym on delivery day. I couldn’t wait.
The school library drew me to its stories as well. Shelves of biographies…”Childhoods of Famous Americans”…were a magnet. Hardcover books mostly about boys (Nathan Hale & Abe Lincoln come to mind), but I did find some about girls. Clara Barton. Helen Keller. Dolly Madison. I didn’t discriminate at the age of 10 or 11 or 12. I read them all. Fascinated by their life stories.
Only famous people had their stories told…at least that’s what I may have assumed. But perhaps it sparked my own urge for story telling. At least in the privacy of my diaries. And letters. Later, the journals kept in college and beyond. Recording my story such as it was. Often painful. And hard to believe. Even upon reading years later. The telling…written for my eyes only…crucial. Therapeutic. I see that now. Important…even though I certainly wasn’t famous.
Years later I filled notebooks with anecdotes, observations…and stories yet again. But this time about my own children. And our family, as it grew and changed…and then grew and changed some more. A natural continuation of my childhood storytelling. About what happened.
This time, though, joyful. Still striving to capture the essence in a quick pair of sentences…or a paragraph. One page. Maybe two. The setting. The conversation. The humor. The love. The challenges. The delight.
Catching the stories on the page before one day wove into the next. Leaving me breathless to get it on paper. Their imaginations. Their curiosity. And uniqueness. From foot stomping “do by self” episodes to impromptu conversations about “where do babies come from?” To shopping for clothes. Playing with imaginary basketball teams in the driveway. Getting ready for school. Accidentally shaving off half an eyebrow. Navigating the minefield that is adolescence. How a seven year old plans the future. In her own imaginative way.
Endless stories every day. I wrote when I could. So glad I did.
We are, after all, our stories.
This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #37: Story