Faith and Fairies
“I believe in fairies,” Gwyn tells me.
“Me, too,” I respond.
In our house we tell stories incessantly, and they’re all true. They began with Special Baby, Gwyn’s imaginary friend when she was two years old. Special Baby could do everything Gwyn couldn’t, like go to the library when it was closed and eat extra servings ofdessert. Then came Lilly the Lilac Fairy who lives in the gnarled lilac tree over Gwyn’s sandbox and who is too shy to show herself to grown-ups.
Write, or Be Written
Here’s what excites me about our climate crisis: It invites us to change. “We face a choice that is starkly simple: We must change or be changed,” writes Wendell Berry. “If we fail to change for the better, then we will be changed for the worse.” Okay, so the alternatives are either exciting or terrifying, but still: Dire circumstances give humans the opportunity to create something new, and this fills me with hope. Berry’s words remind me of a novelist friend who signs her books, “Write, or be written.” I don’t think Elissa’s trying to make authors out of her readers; rather, she’s suggesting that everyone has the choice to accept the stories our culture tells about us or create our own. The climate story our culture has written is dictated by consumption and profit at the expense of the earth and the poor who live close to it. It’s…
A friend explained to me yesterday why she, a born-and-bred Catholic, is faithfully attending adult education classes at her UCC church, asking hard questions, giving the pastor blunt answers, and otherwise being a rabble-rouser. “I want to know what I believe before I die,” she said. “I don’t want simply to fall back on what I was taught.” My in-laws call the list of things they want to do before they die their “bucket list.” I admire anyone who thinks through what might bring their life fulfillment and then sets out to achieve those things before they “kick the bucket.” I like the intention of a bucket list, how death helps us put life in perspective and encourages us to manifest dreams, live our values, and seek out significance. The majority of people who hire me as a writing coach give some version of this explanation: “I’m not a writer,…
Whutif and Howbout
From the moment her eyes pop open in the morning until that instant of surrender at night, Gwyn emits a steady stream of imaginative possibilities. “What if I’m a hermit crab? How about we live on the beach? How about you’re my crab mom? What if I have a shell? A shell, Mama—we have to make a shell!” Which is why I stumble through the basement at 7 a.m. looking for cardboard. An old lawn sign makes a cone-shell; stapled construction paper make claws. The game lasts an hour and then she’s onto the next possibility, the next revision of her world. Meanwhile, Emily retreats to the office to develop dance curriculum for seniors and I escape to write books and help others write books. Or we plan the garden, decide what to have for dinner and cook it, consider our weekend options, nurture our friendships… What if? How about? …