A Clearing in the Words

by Carol Hess on August 12, 2011

(Nope, that’s not a typo in the title.) 

Yesterday, I spent some time with my new next-door neighbors, Michael and Calin. 

Michael is four years old and already a charmer with his long eyelashes and killer smile.  He paid me the ultimate compliment.  Unlike his sister, when his father yelled, “Frog!” Michael didn’t run off to try to catch his father’s discovery.  Instead, he stayed with me on the deck because, he confessed, “I’m having more fun with you, Carol.”  

I’m smitten.  (PS:  The frog got away.) 

But Michael’s older sister Calin is the one who inspired this post.  I fell in love with her before I met her when she wrote me a letter to tell me she too was a writer who enjoyed writing about “magic things and monsters.”  I mean, who doesn’t, right? 

The first time I met Calin, I told her we would sit down and have a writer’s talk – a promise she reminded me yesterday, in a very polite way, that I hadn’t yet fulfilled.  Memo to self:  Actions speak louder than words, Carol, especially when it comes to promises made to children – even children who happen to love words. 

And Calin does love words.  We were discussing cats, another love we share, when I heard her say, “Yes, that’s right.  Cats are nocturnal.” 

I’m no expert when it comes to children and language development, but most seven year-olds don’t use the word “nocturnal,” do they? 

Actually, Calin is almost eight years old.  Her birthday is Sunday.  So I will be going out tomorrow to buy just the right gift for a young writer.  Perhaps her own personal journal, preferably in a bright and cheerful color, and a brand-new set of colored pens to use with the journal? If anyone has a better idea, please feel free to let me know.  Since I’ve never had kids of my own, I’m not a very experienced gift giver when it comes to children. 

Calin’s older sister Kelcie, who is ten years old, is a voracious reader and also a writer.  Her contribution to my refrigerator door, hanging right below Calin’s letter, is a drawing of a very lovely monster with the most beautiful green eyes.  We decided it had to be a lady monster because of those eyes. 

Apparently both girls, when they found out they were moving next door to a writer, were thrilled and couldn’t wait to meet me.  In true curmudgeonly fashion, I wasn’t quite as thrilled to meet them.  I’m going to blame my poor attitude on a deadline at the time that was freaking me out.  It’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. 

But even my lousy attitude didn’t stop me from noticing that Kelcie and Calin rekindled my enthusiasm and gratitude for being able to make my living doing what I love to do, writing.  It wasn’t the worst reminder to get when in the middle of deadline hell.  I must remember to thank them.  

Yikes!  I’ve already exceeded my self-imposed limit of 500 words, plus or minus, per blog post, and I haven’t even gotten to the point of the post.  That’s what happens when you’re an undisciplined writer.  You meander down one path in the words because it feels nice, and before you know it, you are lost.  You are lost in the middle of the words.  You have no idea how you got there, much less how to get back to where you were going. 

Well, I think I will just leave us in this little clearing in the words.  It’s a pleasant place – sunny, peaceful, a gentle breeze blowing.  It’s a nice way to end a nice week.  And I’ll catch up to you on the other side of the weekend. 

Don’t forget!  If you’ve got a great gift idea for an eight year-old girl who loves to write about magic things and monsters, please share it with me in the comments below.  And have yourself a wonderful weekend.

by Carol Hess

6 comments

Categories Carol's Musings

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Sandi Amorim August 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Love the idea of a journal! I just gave my 9 year old niece a notebook with a horse on the cover (her fave) and she carried it around for days :)

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avatar Carol Hess August 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Oh, that makes me feel good, Sandi. Maybe I’m on the right track. I got Calin two journals — one that’s very pretty with flowers and that she can kind of close up so her nosy little brother can’t open it and the other one with cartoon cats. I’m guessing she’ll like the cats the best. And I got her a pen that prints in 4 different colors. Got the same pen for her brother and sister so they have a little something to open up too. (It’s so nice to be the neighbor that doesn’t have to worry about spoiling the kids!)

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avatar Lisa MB August 12, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Blank paper and beautiful pens. And a cool writer-friend just next door.

Sounds like heaven to me. :)

What a happy little girl she’ll be.

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avatar Carol Hess August 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

You know what’s so cool, Lisa? She already IS a happy little girl. So comfortable in her own skin. What a joy that is to watch.

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avatar Jane August 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Carol, you are making a dfference in those young lives more than you know- inspiring!
My best, Jane

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avatar Carol Hess August 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Thanks, Jane! I do know they are making a difference in my life too. Animals and children are the best teachers I know. They are so darned honest.

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