Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Storytelling – Even If You Think You Can’t.

She was impatient, as only a 3 year old can be. Her father was working late, and I was doing the dishes. But she wanted her story. NOW. And she had been patient all evening. It had been a nightly routine to read to her since before she could talk. With soapy hands, I couldn’t hold the book and she refused to hold the book herself. I knew that if I didn’t do something soon, we’d soon have a full blown temper tantrum on our hands, and she’d be too wound up to sleep.

Thinking quickly, I asked if it would be alright if I told her a story. “It will be fun; you can make up whatever pictures you want to go with the story.” The suspicious look on her face told me that she didn’t altogether trust this new idea. Finally she nodded, and then looked at me expectantly.

Oh dear, what had I gotten myself into? I was not a story teller. I was not creative. I could not improvise a story on the spur of the moment. So finally I decided to tell a story I knew inside and out, Cinderella. So did she, having watched the movie over and over, in the way that preschoolers do.

I started out tentatively, and any place where my story differed from the movie, she corrected me. And by the time that we were at the Ball, we were both fully into the story. Incensed at the behavior of the wicked stepsisters, she declared that they should not be allowed to be in the story at all.

Typically of a three-year-old, my daughter didn’t want to hear about Cinderella dancing with the Prince. “It’s boring.” But she was very interested in the mice, the pumpkin and the magic. She knew the magic turned them into a coach and horses but still didn’t understand why they couldn’t stay that way.

And when Cinderella finally made her way down the stairs in her ragged clothes to meet the handsome prince, she cheered, knowing that a happy ending was just around the corner.

Gayle McCain, Author

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Story - Travel Light...

She could feel a pulling in her chest as her eyes followed the laser light along it's path. It was made visible by the smoke rolling out from behind the backdrops. Something in her longed to fly along that line of light and come out anywhere but at the noise filled auditorium, sitting next to the date from hell.

He had asked her if she liked music. When she'd said "yes" he'd hung up before she said she loved the symphony and Celtic music, and that she could take both Jazz and Country in small quantities.

So he had picked her up, looked at her little black dress strangely, shrugged and drove downtown to the amphitheater. She should have taken a taxi home immediately when she saw more leather and chains in the lobby than she'd ever seen before.

But she was on a date. So, finding a set of green earplugs in her purse, she stuck it out, purse clutched in her hand to keep it from being stepped on by the enthusiastic fans all around her. It was supposed to be fun.

But the longer she followed the lights with her eyes the more she began to think that she was stoned from the weed being smoked all around her, she swore she was being pulled out of her chair by her chest. Distracting herself from the noise of the hard rock concert, she allowed herself to relax and let the mysterious tug take her. She couldn't figure out how she'd ended up backstage. But the odd pulling in her chest was gone.

Convinced that she was totally stoned, she stumbled into a stagehand standing behind the backdrop. He herded her out the back door quickly, mumbling something about 'came from nowhere'. The silence outside was such a relief. Purse already in hand, she decided not to go back. He wasn't worth it.

It took her an entire week before she figured out what had happened. And even then she had trouble believing it. Somehow she had ridden the laser light to its end. A little bit of searching turned up the term Temporal Bi-Location, pen size Laser Pointers, and not much else. So she began to experiment.

Trial and error proved to be a bit dangerous as she couldn't remember what she'd tried and not tried. But keeping exact records in a small spiral notebook gave her enough information to be able to determine that while any of the visible wavelengths worked, when she really focused on the feeling in her chest she could get the most distance out of the red Laser pointer.

Day after day she practiced, gaining distance until she could ride the laser light one hundred miles, even though it's label stated that it could only be seen for ten miles.

But no matter how often she practiced she couldn't seem to go further than a hundred miles, and at that she usually ended up stumbling when she landed. Sometimes dropping as much as 4-5 feet. Some of this was due to terrain differences but she finally realized that it was mostly due to the curvature of the earth.

She began experimenting. Could she interrupt the flight in the middle? Once she could do that, she tried going straight up for a few feet and then changing directions by re-aiming the pointer while falling. She learned to travel great distances by this stairstep method. She was exposed to the weather every time she was stepping down and re-aiming the pointer. So she learned to check the weather, check the elevation and always have zippers on her pockets.

She knew that when she sped along a beam of light, she was not visible. She figured it was because she was moving too fast. Not having the equipment she couldn't test whether she was traveling at the speed of light or not. But her travel felt instantaneous, unless she was in a course correction.

She learned to cross the mountains, and oceans, jungles and deserts. She had 3 old fashioned compasses on lanyards, four pocket sized laser pointers. So with her passport, a pocketful of currency, and courage she learned to
Travel Light...


Author's note - I don't know whether it works this way or not - But I'm hopeful. I just bought my own laser pointer thingy.
; )