The picture above was colored during a sunny afternoon to kick off this post about the word that kept coming back to me this week: Story. What better way to think about a story than the classic introduction: “Once upon a time…”
When I was in college, a Borders bookstore was about a mile off campus so a good walking distance for the two years I was car-less. I would fill my messenger bag with homework and walk over to spend a few hours reading or taking notes for an exam. Or at least that was the plan. Before I settled down in the cafe area with a chai, I had to spend time wandering the stacks of books first.
Colorful books in the children’s area brought back memories of all the stories that kept me company alongside teddy bears and My Little Ponies. Travel guides tempted me with far off places that I couldn’t find on a map, but I could imagine getting on a plane to discover. The covers of romance novels confused me with so many men without shirts and women in flowing dresses (And why was it always sunset?).
My favorite section in those visits were the new books, those that had little notecards with recommendations by staff members. I would read over the back cover of the book, then through the card to see what Sam, Jennifer, Daniel, or Chloe thought. When I finished my college degree, I applied and prayed so hard to be one of those staff members. I wanted to get “paid to read” (or so I assumed) and spend my days walking through the stacks and encouraging readers.
I still love wandering through a bookstore and am fortunate to live in a city that has the fabulous Powell’s Bookstores where you can easily get lost and found over and over again. These days, when I stroll through the stacks, I dream of one day having a story on those shelves alongside the ones that have inspired me so much. I don’t have a big enough vision for that story yet, one that would fill the pages between a hardback cover, but hope for that day.
Until then I get to share part of my story with you on these screen-framed pages. Thank you for taking it off the shelf to flip through.
#52sparks is my year-long writing series based on an art prompt challenge. The title is inspired by a quote from Star Wars: The Last Jedi: “We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron). The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. So just imagine what hundreds of inches and words can do.