Anyone can easily say that we are far too old to listen to stories. That we are far too old to turn the pages of children’s books and enjoy every pop-up, every picture bursting with vibrant colors, and every word that leads us to the two words we hate “The End.”
But I’ve realized just recently that I, to this day, am one who enjoys a good story despite reaching my peak at 20 years old. But I don’t consider myself alone. I like to argue that every one of us enjoy stories, some in the form of E-news and TMZ. Others like their stories in a thick, encyclopedia sized and therefore, picture-less book with words that take them to an imaginary bliss as they are immersed in a novel. I have always been a bookworm at heart, but nothing compares to having someone tell me a good story before bed every night as a child. And that person was my aunt.
Growing up as a child, my summers that were initially spent in Chicago were cut short because of my family’s annual summer road trips to Georgia where my aunt had lived. For at least 5 weeks every year, I had experienced the classic weather of Georgia, warm temperatures with unforgiving humidity that made my already thick and curly hair resemble a bush made of a million thorns.
In those summers, my family and I would always enjoy the attractions that Georgia had to offer. Seeing Stony Mountain and enjoying Dip n’ Dots (far before they made their way to the Midwest) never got old. After a long day of site seeing and exploring the city we had seen more times any anyone else, there was nothing better than having my aunt tell my siblings and I a good story before we went to sleep.
As we got tucked in, the giggles and fighting between my siblings and I would slowly cease as my aunt hushed us and began to speak. As I closed my eyes, I would vividly imagine the story she told us, practically seeing princesses fiercely fighting dragons to save their kingdom and before I knew it, I was asleep dreaming about dragon-fighting princesses more or less.
It had amazed me how my aunt was able to craft perfectly-plotted stories in a whim. How she was able to weave every detail together with effortless perfection. I knew I could never come up with anything. But none-the-less, one day I asked her if I could try it myself.
My siblings protested, and urged my aunt to tell a story instead. But she saw the hope in my eyes and warmly smiled and let me tell a story. I was nervous, not expecting to be given an opportunity to tell a story that night. With uncertainty, my mind raced with ideas as I uttered the magical words: “Once upon a time..” and I stopped short. Because I was stuck. Would I talk about a princess? Too cliché. But then again, I already started my story with the most historically cliché line. I hadn’t even began my story and I was already a failure. But I had to go on. I couldn’t take back those words now.
“Well, once upon a time, there was a girl who lived on a hill.” I thought I’d build suspense. My siblings quieted down and began to be interested. “And every day, she would up the hill…”
“To fetch a pail of water? Really? I don’t want to hear it anymore.” my older sister began to get bored.
“Let her finish.” my aunt interrupted.
“And she went up the hill to the well which she used to take herself to an underworld.” I began. Ideas started coming easily to me. Who cares where this story goes, I was on a roll, I thought. “But one day, as she went up the hill to go the well, she saw another woman. A woman she had never seen before. This women wore a hood that covered her fact. In fact, this woman was a witch.” It went on for a while and somehow involved space ships and panthers. But it didn’t matter because I was finally able to tell a story. No matter how much sense it didn’t make.
I went to sleep that night with a renewed sense of hope. With the hopes of writing even more stories. With the hope that I was capable of doing more than I ever thought I could.
Until my next blog post,