Monday, November 27, 2006

Stories choose us

Posted by Lisa

I saw the stringy-haired girl one time.
In a bowling alley in New Hampshire. It was raining out. The drizzle woke me up and stayed for the day, a guest my parents never invited to our Lake Winnipesaukee cottage.

That day my dad drove the five of us to Wolfeboro, to give us something to do. My sister, brother, our neighbors, Kathy and Scott. I was twelve, I think. Or thirteen. My dad gave us money, for snacks, sodas, shoe rentals, and three straight hours of strings.

The girl in the bowling alley was my age, thereabouts. She watched me, the whole time. I wondered what she saw. I glanced at her from time to time, wondering why her dad looked so young and why her mom never spoke to her. She was someone lonely, with sad eyes that even a day of bowling wouldn't change. She was longing for a friend, longing for a lot of things. I think she would have liked a Coke. I sipped mine through two skinny straws.

Like any writer, anywhere, images stay with me. I have a picture of that girl – in my mind. It's next to a little boy I once saw trying to surf on washed up driftwood. We all have those photo albums. Sometimes I flip through the pictures. They tell snippets of stories. Things that never sat right with me. Things I didn't understand. I worried about those people. I write about them now, giving them names, and circumstances. I make up worlds for them to live in. I need to fill in the answers for the questions I had about them.

Writers such as CS Lewis, Joan Bauer, Jack Gantos, Patricia Leitch, Enid Blighton, all have made me laugh and wonder and escape. Over the past two years, I have lived with the characters in my middle grade novel, Sandcastle Secrets. Their imaginary seaside home on Cape Cod has been my second home. My novel is with agents now... and so I move on to novel number two. I'm well into it, both the writing and the world.

No comments: