Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bedtime story for sick and miserable child

Bedtime story for a Sick Child (a primer)

There was a little yellow flower with purple polka dots
(it's good to start with something sensory and basic, like the color
of polka dots, to grab her attention, but then you must get to the conflict
right away) and this yellow flower stood in a field of a thousand others,
only these other flowers were all purple with yellow dots, and Mabel
(it's helpful to give the heroine a name that's memorable)
thought she looked funny in the midst of all those flower people.
She was embarrassed about the way she stood out in all that purple

dressed in bright yellow. But then one day a funny little fellow
came along and picked her. He chose Mabel among all the others
because she stood out. Her different colors made him instantly love her
and so he chose her and took her home to give to his mother.

The boy's name was Frederich, and he and his mother and grand
father lived in a little cabin in the woods in a faraway land.


There you go! If she's asleep by now you have a nice little sonnet,
but if she's still awake, you will have to forget that form and stay on it...

Frederich's mother, whose name was Alma, loved the yellow flower
he brought her. She found a cobalt blue glass vase and filled it with water.
This glass vase was very unusual, because everything else in their home
was made of white-blonde wood, all of the furniture, all of the flotsam
and jetsam, everything it seemed but the blue glass vase and the yellow
flower with purple dots. Everybody fussed over what a beautiful glow
the flower had, and then they all went to bed and fell to sleep
(because it is always helpful to have the people in your story go to sleep

as soon as possible, as it is suggestive to the impressionable mind
of the listener to help her nod off, and at this point I generally slow my
voice way down too, leave longer and longer spaces between my words,
breathe deeper, like a hypnotist. And then I continue toward the absurd

world of dreams.) The little flower noticed a book lying on the table,
a beautiful green book telling how to fly like a reindeer, and Mabel
the flower was excited because she had always wanted to learn to fly
and she had loved reindeer ever since she had seen a red sleigh

being pulled across the sky one night (even though it doesn't make sense
that a flower could see Santa in summer in Montana. Logic, and even tense
doesn't matter at a time like this. Just keep the story rolling.) Mabel wished she
could read the book and learn how to fly like a reindeer. So she imagined she

was flying like a reindeer until she fell asleep and then, in turn, dreamed she
was flying like a reindeer, on her way to that blue island in the Northern sea.
(By now your charge, lulled by the monotone drone of your voice
should be fast asleep, but if she's still awake you'll have little choice

but continue, as Mabel is shot at by hunters, frozen by freezing winds
and nearly hit by a plane, and any manner of trouble, until she finally ends
up meeting a goose who has lost the rest of her V and helps her find her way
back into the fold. 

Sdad Sonnet

Sofia brought me the drawing she had been working on "for years."
She had drawn a monkey walking through a jungle, a waterfall of tears
falling into a puddle at his feet. Two elephants watch him with concern.
She wrote, "Bobo is sdad. The elephant see that Bobo is sdad inn

fact everyone sees that Bobo is very very very sdad." She wrote sdad
because she had asked me how to spell "sad" and I said it was just like "dad,"
which she knows, but starts with "s." Makes sense, right? It was a neat trick,
as it turns out. My friend Jacques, after I posted the drawing on FaceBook

commented, "Sofia is learning Hebrew, apparently, in which
language "sdad" means "okay". It was astonishing, in one little switch
of meaning, stemming from a supposed mistake, Jacques had completely
changed the story of Sofia's drawing from very "sad" to very "okay."

It just took a little "d" at the beginning of sad to make all the difference,
and eyes sharp enough to see exactly how that made perfect sense.

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