Last night, as I was waiting for the girls to finish with their music lessons, I opened my book of short stories by Ray Bradbury and these fell out.
I guess Caroline needed a place to flatten her paper dolls.
They were inspired by The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer by Emily Martin, whom Caroline adores with fervent delight.
When she received it as a gift for her birthday, she wanted so badly to cut the dolls out of the book and I wanted so badly for her to not.
The next morning, as I was driving carpool, Izzy noticed the book of short stories sitting in the console. So I told her a little about Ray Bradbury, how I love his way of writing which is plain and true and straight from the heart.
I love that, dear reader. I love stories which unfold themselves clearly, which do not make me feel like a dolt for failing to grasp all the obscure literary elements at play, for thinking a strawberry is just a strawberry when CLEARLY it symbolizes something much more unfathomable, for being so easily content with the basic plotline when some esoteric inside joke is going on beneath the surface.
Once I'd exhausted myself on that topic, I mentioned I wasn't as crazy about his stories which are set in space, or which deal with some futuristic breakdown in society, but rather the ones which play out in a small town, with everyday people and events.
Izzy asked me for an example of just such a story, which left me with no choice: I had to tell her about The Whole Town's Sleeping. I had to, dear reader. Like a moth to the flame, I could not stop myself. Because that story is always on my mind. I can't shake it! It reads like the entire imagination of my childhood, right up until this present day if I don't keep an iron death grip on my brain.
By the time we reached Morgan's house (I was driving carpool, remember), Izzy's eyes were so wide and we were both so jumpy that even a little old man walking his toy poodle down the sidewalk seemed sinister.
When Morgan got in the car, Izzy asked: how did the story end?
We quickly brought Morgan up to date, barraging her with the details, then I opened the book and read the last page aloud (wait...was I supposed to be getting the kids to school??).
And my, didn't that cause a stir in the hen house?! Weren't we all wide awake and in a tizzy at 6:30 in the morning?!
But we still had to pick up April and when she got in the car, Izzy insisted I give her the rundown as well. So I did, all the time wondering if I'd be getting a phone call from disgruntled parents later that evening. Rather than telling the whole story, however, I had Izzy reread the last page.
Poor little April. The look on her face. I doubt she'll ever be the same.
On the bright side, it led to a fascinating lecture (if I do say so, myself) on managing fears wherein the girls listened with bated breath as I expounded forth on a number of topics, some practical, some useless, but all of it good for a laugh.
On that note, I pulled up to the school and wished them a marvelous day. They got out, spirits riding high, talking and laughing a little louder than usual.
Izzy turned to me and said: I love it when you drive us to school.
So do I, my dear girl.
eta: I just realized this anecdote might be slightly more meaningful were I to summarize what actually happens in The Whole Town's Sleeping...but I can't, dear reader.
I simply cannot.
I've already relaxed the iron death grip on my brain once today and still haven't recovered from the shock.
I'm beginning to suspect of everyone riding in the car this morning, I'm probably the greatest victim of all...
p.s. Dear reader...I must take a little break from this blog! I feel as if I've been talking my head off lately, something I dearly love to do in terms of writing but rather less so in terms of actual talking.
I'm still trying to write that story, you see. And it's not flowing from my head like the Muses on Mt. Olympus, I can tell you that much. No, it's more like dredging words from a brackish flood...a sullen, foul, brackish flood.
And life...it can be so interfering! All those trivial concerns--personal hygiene, carpool, people who keep calling me Mum and looking at me as if I'm going to give them something to eat.
To be fair, there are only three such people, but they look at me like that all the time.
So...just a few days. Just a wafer thin break.
Anything longer and I'd miss you too much.