Last week I started Alice Bradley's The Practice of Writing class. She provides daily pep talks and prompts for 15-minute writing sessions. I've been sharing the fruits of these prompts with my fellow students, but many of them aren't really the kind of thing I generally write about on my blog or they're things I've written about before and don't want to repeat.
However, I hate to neglect this blog completely, so I'm going to share one of last week's pieces that happens to be the fruit of two prompts (write about the first story you ever heard and extend a piece of writing from earlier in the week) and also happens to be something I'm pretty sure I've written about before here.
Still, here it is:
When I was a little girl, I would lie on the bathroom counter while my mother washed my hair in the sink. She would tell me "Tiny stories," which were about a little girl named Tiny who had a younger brother named Biggie and a baby sister named Minnie.
Tiny had lots of adventures because there were fairies living in her garden who liked to take her to magical places. She went to Candyland, visited the North Pole, met the Easter Bunny, etc. There was one story about a "zoo" where mythical creatures had been enslaved that I'm pretty sure borrowed heavily from an episode of Star Trek. But obviously I didn't know that at the time.
My mother's rather twisted imagination and dark humor got the best of her sometimes and I vividly remember her telling me a story that involved the fairies getting their heads bitten off so they were forced to talk through their necks. I’m pretty sure this story came about because she was tired of me asking for “one more story!”
Her ploy to shock me into not asking anymore backfired because I was steeped in the lore of Oz by then. In Oz, no one can age or die, so the stories are full of ghastly details about people being cut or torn to pieces or trapped at the bottom of the ocean, still alive and apparently only mildly inconvenienced by their circumstances. Then there was Princess Languidere, who had kept a collection of beautiful women’s heads that she removed from their original owners so she could change her appearance by wearing different ones on a whim.
So since I had Oz as a basis for comparison, I knew Tiny’s fairy friends would figure out a way to get their heads back, so I wasn't alarmed for them in the least. Mostly I was just curious about how they were going to eat.
When I was in sixth grade, I wrote and illustrated a version of Tiny's visit to Candyland. I still have the booklet in my files somewhere and one of these days I need to scan it before the paper degrades.
In the story, I drew Tiny and her siblings’ trip to Candyland in neon magic marker detail with sherbet snowmen and lollipop trees aplenty. They meet the Gumdrop Dragon, who is rather Cowardly Lionesque in that his initial bluster turns to fear of the human children when he realizes they could eat him. I can’t remember the rest of the Candyland storyline, but of course all of the kids make it home safely except that they aren’t hungry for dinner and Biggie’s stomach aches from eating so much candy.
I really wish I had written down more of the Tiny stories because they were such a big part of my childhood and I would love to have been able to share them with my niece and nephew. Perhaps one day I’ll make up some of my own.
Photo credit: dixieroadrash