Once upon a time, a little girl snuggled deep into worn, fraying couch cushions, curled her legs to her chest, and devoured every last bitter winter chill, family gathering, and hard time that Laura Ingalls Wilder had to offer up. She wanted to be in the Big Woods of Wisconsin: watching adults dance and gossip, tapping trees for maple syrup, surrounded by DIY cheeses, meats, and delicious candies. She longed for blizzards that were easy to get lost in, muslin dresses, and wide open prairie.
In school, the little girl stared out the window and daydreamed. She was on wind-swept hills, running in the sun. She was powerful and all-knowing, the heroine who saved the day. “Christy!” her teacher would call, dragging her back to the world she really existed in. “I need your attention!” The little girl felt ashamed of her wish. Her wish that she could stay forever in the world she created for herself, and not have to be part of the one that forced her to focus on reading boring stories meant for little children.
She was constantly torn between the shame of not being perfect at everything someone her age was meant to be perfect at, and the puffed up delight that came from being told that her reading level far surpassed those her age, and her imagination was amazing. She felt, with absolute certainty, that she could and would be a great writer, like Laura Ingalls Wilder or C.S. Lewis. There was one thing missing. And that thing would be missing for almost thirty years before she found the key to truly great writing.
…. to be continued