When I was a child my mom read stories to us at bedtime. A fairly common practice, although I have no clue if electronics have stolen those precious moments. I can hope that bedtime stories are still sacred times when child and parent come together over the pages a book. Another discussion for another post. Anyway my favorite stories came from a book of fairy tales that is now ragged and showing its age. I believe my imagination and love of magic came from this book. There were many hours I spent listening to my mom read and then spent more time reading the familar stories on my own. My favorite was a story called the Patchwork Quilt.
In the story which took place in a land of snow and cold an old grandmother spent nights telling her grandson stories while she sewed the quilt for his bed. An there was an evil wizard who stole the quilt for the magic the old grandma had sewn into every stitch. Needless to say good trumps evil and the quilt finds its way home.
These stories had the classics, Red Riding Hood, The Frog Princess and others. And other less familar tales like the Patchwork Quilt. All of these stories had bright pictures, magic and a moral, important elements for holding a squirming child’s attention. I believe this book and these stories have more teach me, not just about letting my imagination and magic, but about writing and story construction. The words are simple easy for a child learning to read. Those same words are vivid and bring these stories to life. So many nights my dreams were filled with the weavings of this book.
I hope to inspire you to reach back into your childhood and recall a book or story that fueled your wonder and awe of the written word. Take a new look at the fairytales people have been telling and see what they can teach you about our writing craft. Cheers, james