Tag Archives: Story Sessions

I’m Writing a Children’s Story

My little adventurers

My little adventurers

I participated in a virtual retreat with Story Sessions last week – an opportunity to intensively fuel creativity for a few days.  In our final writing session, we were asked to journal through this question: what is one thing holding you back from the story you must tell?

My mind was ready to fire off the usual excuse – time.  Of course that had to be the answer, the one thing.  Because marriage, kids, job, etc.  All the stuff.  But my heart gave a twinge and raised her voice before I could shush her.  And I knew in an instant the real thing that holds me back from the story I’m working on right now:

I fear not being taken seriously as a writer because I have chosen to write a children’s story.  I fear other writers will view it as “less than”.

But just as quickly as my heart admitted her fear, I knew in my bones what a lie this was.  More importantly, I knew that even if it turns out to be true, even if other writers do look down on this endeavor, I will do it anyway.

Because it is for my children, especially my daughter, but for both of them.  Which is reason enough all by itself.  I am writing the princess story I want them to read – brave, beautiful, fierce, strong and soft all at once.  And I believe in this story.  I believe in the message I am carefully weaving through the characters and actions.  I believe there are big hearts inside little bodies who need the words I am laboring over. (And even crazier – a few big hearts in grown up bodies who might need them too.)

I push back against the fear over what others may think.  I remember what good company I am in – Madeline L’Engle, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Kate DiCamillo, E.B. White – just a few great writers who invested their words on a younger audience, and yes, please, don’t mind if I do aspire to join them. (With a healthy dose of reality, of course, because Narnia and Middle Earth are rare pinnacles of perfection.)

And just in case I needed any additional convincing to fortify my sometimes quivery heart, I found this nugget of wisdom from Madeline L’Engle – her response when she was asked why she wrote for children:

I don’t.  If it’s not good enough for adults, it’s not good enough for children.  If a book that is going to be marketed for children does not interest me, a grown up, then I am dishonoring the children for whom the book is intended, and I am dishonoring books.  And words.  Sometimes I answer that if I have something to say that is too difficult to swallow, then I will write it in a book for children.  This is usually good for a startled laugh, but it’s perfectly true.  Children still haven’t closed themselves off with fear of the unknown, fear of revolution or the scramble for security.  They are still familiar with the inborn vocabulary of myth.

So there you have it.  I write this story, not only for my children, but for me.  Because I love a good princess story and a good adventure.  And I will pour my best into it so as not to dishonor children or books or words.  No doubt, the process will be painful because that is how it goes when birthing something, but in the end, I expect it all to be quite fun and – dare I say it? – significant.  After all, stories are powerful.  Who knows what could happen?

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Filed under Creativity, Fiction, Writing

Reclaiming Hope

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At first, it was faint – the echoes of rumbling far off in the distance, a pulsating whisper traveling through years.

All at once strange and familiar, the symphony swells.  Every note and every chord shatters a brick in the fortress around my woman-heart.

Rumors, lies, rejection, shame – the walls are quaking.

Fear, secrets, bad theology, failure – the walls are crumbling.

Through the cracks and crevices, the river of sounds rushes from memories awakening. Carried on the current are sounds of laughter ringing & singing unleashed, flutes playing & songs written, words crafted & messages spoken, dreams whispered & hope declaring.

I know those sounds – pure and undefiled by disillusion. I know that passion – the certainty of having a gift to offer the world.

The girl I once was believed there was nothing so broken it could not be mended.  She believed someone somewhere needed her words, her voice. She believed she loved what she loved for a reason, that all the intricacies of her heart were not without purpose.  She believed she could not be silenced.

And now as the river carries the dreams of her childhood into her present, rushing ever faster, straining the dam of disappointment the years have haughtily erected, she sees with new eyes.  Perhaps what she thought was dead has merely been sleeping, growing, waiting.

Sometimes Hope is everywhere, the signs of promise blooming all around and all you have to do is drink in the wonder.  But sometimes Hope comes because you give her no choice.  You reclaim her.  You take her and say, “You will stay.  You will be the rapids in my river of awakening. You will be the final surge needed to shatter the dam.  You will.”

I will be the best of the girl I once was and the girl I am now – warrior spirit, creative heart, prophetic voice.  Come, rushing River. Come, fierce Hope.  Today, let’s be free.

Today I am joining my voice with an army of women claiming their freedom through the Story Sessions link up. Join us?

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Filed under Hope, Music, Passion, Writing

Your Necessary Voice

1521319_10153684799840004_215058137_nIn Story Sessions this week, we were asked what this quote evokes in us.  I’ve been  mulling it over and finding that, well, it makes me squirm a little.  Because I want it to be an elegant process – finding my voice and revealing my soul and reveling in my blessed weirdness.

Does anyone remember the 90s remake of Sabrina – the one with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond?  Do you remember how Sabrina goes off to Paris, all frumpy and awkward and unsure of herself?  And her mentor there tells her how she was the same when she arrived in Paris.  But then the mentor says: “I went for long walks, I drank coffee, I wrote in a journal and  I met myself in Paris.”

That’s how I picture the process of finding my voice. I just want to meet myself in Paris. (Insert dramatic sigh.)

If only. But back to reality.

It is ruthless – the process of writing and re-writing your words, peeling back the layers of trying to impress someone or sound like someone or not offend someone until nothing is left but your heart, laid bare.

It is relentless – the swirling of thoughts and ideas and stories in your bones, begging to be let out, while other voices are busy telling your mind no one is actually interested in what you have to say anyway.

It is inevitable – the fire shut up in your bones that has to come out one way or another, so you might as well write and write and write.

But where I am floored is in considering the process of finding my voice necessary for personal and collective survival.  I get it personally.  I mean, it’s fire shut up in my bones, so it’s a matter of letting it out or burning up slowly from the inside.

But to be necessary for collective survival?

Deep breath.

Accepting that someone, maybe several someones out there need, actually need my voice?  And perhaps a step further?  They need to see me engage the messy process of unleashing my blessed weirdness?

Exhale.

Yes.  It’s true.  It’s true for me and it’s true for you.  Your voice could sound like a million things besides writing, but whatever the sound, the world needs it.  Maybe not literally the entire world (maybe so).  But someone, most likely several someones out there, need what only we can uniquely say.  And when we engage the process, it infuses others with courage to shake off the dazed slumber and find what their hearts are saying too.

We are all that critical. Embrace it.

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Filed under Creativity, Hope, Writing