IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR! And you know what that means!
Oh wait. It’s only 6:30. But it feels like 8:30. As a person who loves sleep, this time of year is like…I don’t know, like it’s a big, special holiday!!! Filled with gifts and light!
Those of you who have been gracious enough to let this whack-job (that would be moi) ramble, you know I love talking about writing. Don’t worry, I’ve been doing plenty of it (will update for those out of the loop soon!), but there’s something about talking about the craft that lights me up like a colorful bulb during one of the coldest and darkest month of the year. I love bragging about being with my muse (even though I wish he’d kiss me more than he kisses the bottles of Samuel Adams) and the little ones we brought forth onto the Word documents.
Just about all of us here have hopes and dreams that our own little ones will go out and make a mark on the world. And also, hopefully, our wallets. Some days, though, when the fantasies of being on MTV’s Cribs subside (“And over here, my seven-level kitchen, which I named Dante’s Inferno!”), we find ourselves staring at our laptops. Or desktops. Or tablets. Or typewriters. Or pen and paper. Or stone and chisel. I don’t judge. And when we look around and see we’re STILL not millionaires (bloody Lottery that NEVER picks anyone from the west coast!), we ask ourselves: what is the point?
What good are stories if there is no monetary reward?
I think we all know deep down what the answer to that question is.
But we all have bad days. No matter how many good days there are, we still need a kind word on those not-so-good days.
So if you’re having one of those days, may I present this story that Thorn received from a high school friend the other day:
Franz Kafka, the story goes, encountered a little girl in the park where he went walking daily. She was crying. She had lost her doll and was desolate.
Kafka offered to help her look for the doll and arranged to meet her the next day at the same spot.
Unable to find the doll he composed a letter from the doll and read it to her when they met.
‘Please do not mourn me, I have gone on a trip to see the world. I will write you of my adventures.’
This was the beginning of many letters. When he and the little girl met he read her from these carefully composed letters the imagined adventures of the beloved doll. The little girl was comforted.
When the meetings came to an end Kafka presented her with a doll. She obviously looked different from the original doll. An attached letter explained ‘My travels have changed me.’
Many years later, the now grown girl found a letter stuffed into an unnoticed crevice in the cherished replacement doll.
In summary it said:
‘Every thing that you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.’
—Kafka and the Doll, The Pervasiveness of Loss
So if you’ve sent your story out…it shall return again to you one day.
And if you’re lucky and hardworking enough? The return will be of monetary value.
Even in fiction, there is always an undercurrent of truth. And lucky Thorn is going to the land of Kafka in January to see just how deep those waters run beneath this story!
Special thanks to Marianne Jacobson for telling Thorn this story and encouraging him–and all of us–to go on telling stories.