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Never thought I’d be a children’s author, but…

August 13, 2010

… I have at least two dozen stories about my imaginary monster friend. To date, I’ve typed sixteen of them, and they’re in a massive binder that I shall hand over to camp tomorrow. I wish I could’ve done more, but… I’m not running on much, these days, and they were already cutting into my Project W time.

It’s funny, though. My little monster seems to have sprouted his own cult. They’re the equivalent of Writer’s Improv. Kids shout out a topic, and I make a story… their favourites get repeated ad nauseam. There are three designated “story times” throughout the day (so-designated because I was telling stories all the time. “Ok, kids, time for Arts & Crafts!” “We want a story!” “But… it’s Arts & Crafts time.”). One in the morning as kids arrive, one after lunch while we play in the playground, and one at home time.

The result has been fascinating. At playground and home time, I have a “spot,” whether under the slide or by the gym doors. And the kids run to that spot, and sit quietly (which can be a feat for 5-8-year-olds) until I get there. And they leave my spot open. That boggles my mind. No matter how many kids are crowding around, no one will sit in my spot. They also hush each other if a newcomer gets rowdy, have the plot details/”mythology” down pat, and have even figured out the “straight man/funny man” setup between the two main characters.

While all this has been good for my ego, it also demonstrates to me the power of stories themselves. This is a little monster I made when I was 8. Now, he’s living on in the hearts, minds, and imaginations of current 8-year-olds. That just seems kind of cool to me. That, and the fact that it makes them behave so well. Imagine a kid wanting something so much that they’ll be just about the best audience one could ask for. Now imagine that thing is an intangible story, with no visual aids. I’ve said it before, but I think there’s hope for this generation after all.

A little weirded out, exhausted, but happy,

Arvik

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