One day, I saw the daughter hard at work writing an entry for the Young Authors Contest in her school. Usually, when she thinks of a story, unicorns, horses and ponies, leap across continents and worlds to establish their roles in them. If there is a human element involved, that person would have just moved to the countryside and gotten a horse as a gift. The horse could then become a unicorn and shall reveal itself under special circumstances or continue along life as a special horse with powers almost magical to behold. I glanced at the story, and surprise of surprises: there was a unicorn, a mother unicorn and seven sibling unicorns. I was a little tired of this arc, so I asked her to try something else for a change. A dash of encouragement, and some coaxing later, she agreed to try. The tale that emerged this time, I was thrilled to see, was one where the protagonist was a duck battling an evil raven, and not only that, the duck had a noble purpose: to save all plant life. So good so far.
(Note to self: I should have taken a picture of the book title at least, but I forgot. I could have pasted it here *facepalm*)
I was mildly proud of myself. I had truly inspired her enough to try different stories. I swelled at the thought and every time I saw her working on the story, or drawing a picture for it, I would smile a little. There is something else that I should probably mention here. Recently, I spent an afternoon in her class reading out one of my stories to them, discussing the elements of writing and such. It was a golden afternoon in my mind. I had the time of my life discussing moral dilemmas, morals, plot devices and narrative styles with them. Children can be precocious and highly engaging when they want to be. In that class, it was hard to think that these children are the same ones who will double up and laugh at fart jokes. The discussions were so animated, intelligent, and lively. It was like floating in a hot air balloon above some fuzzy, golden clouds on a full stomach.
Obviously, when I met her friends at School later, I asked them whether they were going to write as well. Some eagerly nodded, while others skulked off. Her friends, who did try, told me their titles. I don’t know about the stories, but the story titles made you want to snatch a chair and settle down to read: The Adventures on Mount Whirldoom, The Mystery of the Missing Phantom, Buckle Bo and the Mystical Orb (that was the daughter’s title). Very fancy, I tell you. Very fancy.
One of them hinted that she picked up some tips from my discussion in their class the other day while writing her story. I was so happy to hear that, I beamed. Clearly fishing for more compliments, I asked them why they wanted to write: did they think it will be fun to construct a plot?
Now, I don’t know what devices hot air balloon makers use to deflate their devices, but I needed none of that. Their answers were enough.
‘Oh! That. No. Usually, there is a pizza party for participants.” said a Jane Austen.
“Hey, don’t forget we also get ice-cream.” a Mark Twain piped up.
“And brownies.” said an Enid Blyton.
My hot air balloon crash landed on the lawns nearby, and I fumbled out.
Buckle Bo & The Mystical Orb, if you please!