“…I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.”
I remember the first time I felt the wonder of story. I was 9 and drowning in a river of misery that swept me away to a new home in Connecticut. My parents had just moved our family away from Ohio, and I missed my friends and my house and the wide open space of my backyard. I was desperate to return.
So in the silent days when I was freezing out my parents, I wrote a story. It was about a sad little girl who meets some talking strawberries, and she takes a wild ride with them all the way back to her home. My teacher read it and had it printed in the school gazette. A boy named Ricky even drew some artwork to go with it. People read my story, and they loved it. They patted me on the back. They high-fived me. They congratulated me.
And while all of the accolades were fantastic, the true wonder of that experience wasn’t in all the congratulations. It was in the simple writing of the story. Telling that story rescued me from drowning in a pool of tears. In my real life I was stuck in Connecticut, but in this imaginary world, I could be anywhere. Including back in Ohio.
That’s the wonder of story for me.
I love that I can create new characters, people I’d like to love and hate in my real life. I love that I can create a new outcome, give myself new endings through these fictional tales. And I love that these new creations are never-ending. There can always be another story as long as my imagination lives.
I have dreams for these stories. I’m currently searching for an agent and querying my first YA novel, Hope in Bloom. I haven’t found a home for it yet, but I won’t give up. I know that there must be someone out there who sees in it what I do. I just have to find that person. Meanwhile, I will continue to write—more novels, flash fiction, poems, and some rants here and there. And I will continue to dream.
I’ve come a long way since “Wild Strawberries” and my dream seems so close. I hope I will not fail to grasp it. But no matter what, I’ve found my green light. There’s wonder in that story that made me feel so much better all those years ago. There’s wonder in that story that I truly feel within my heart.
There is wonder in story.