early scribblings

I started writing fiction when I was a kid. To be honest, I couldn’t really give you an age, but my best guess is 7. No lie.

I was going to tell you about one of my first stories but why do that when I can let you read it? Well, mostly because it’s embarrassing but what the heck. I wrote this one when I was about 9. See if you can recognize the subtle influence of the fables I read as a child; my adult self comments are in teal:

Once upon a time, there lived in the forest a small elf. He had escaped from Santa’s workshop. (Because apparently Santa used slave labor.) Ho got into a lot of mischief. His name was Otto.

One day, Otto was sneaking through the woods when he saw a cave. When he went in, it was very dark. Then he saw four ugly faces glowing in the darkness. (Can you tell I had those glow-in-the-dark troll figurines/dolls?)

“Who are you?” Otto asked.

“We are the Trolls of the Forest,” they said. “Our names are Gary, Carol, Kyle and Patty. We guard, clean, keep, and plant the forest.” (And even as a child, I had a thing for alliteration.)

“Wow! You sure do a lot of work!” cried Otto.

So the trolls and Otto became friends. (Obviously. Friendship is so simple when you’re 9.) The next day, Otto decided to play a trick on the trolls. What he didn’t know was that trolls are sensitive. So when he dumped water on them, they started to cry. Then they walked away and Otto never saw them again.

Soon, the forest began to rot away. All the animals came to Otto and said it was his fault that the forest was rotting away. So Otto had to work day and night to restore the forest.

The End

Moral: Playing a trick can lead to a fall.

Nice cheery story, huh? Yeah, I read a lot of fables when I was a kid. While other children grew up with Dr. Seuss and fairy tales, I grew up with The Book of Virtues (I found it much more interesting) and easy-readers about the Titanic, King Tut, and Pomeii. (I wrote about those here.)

Surely other people wrote strange stories when they were little. No? Come on, spill.

they chose

He was standing hundreds of miles away when he got the news: his mother lay dying. He booked the next flight out, hoping, praying that he’d get there in time. He had one chance to get to her, one chance to say goodbye. She was fading quickly.

But things started going wrong. A delay, long enough to affect his next flight, the last flight of the day. A day could be too long. His mother didn’t have a day.

His heart broken, tears began streaming down his face in the middle of the airplane. He may not get the chance to say goodbye.

This story could have ended there. Many stories end in tragedy.

But our story didn’t end on the airplane.

The crew noticed this man and they heard his story. They relayed it to the pilot who radioed ahead and asked the man’s next flight to wait.

And they did.

The man got to his mother in time to tell her goodbye but he wouldn’t have had the chance without those two crews. He didn’t take it for granted. After his mother’s death, the man wrote a letter to the airline, thanking them, praising those individuals who helped him.

True story. (You can read it here.)

Sometimes it’s nice to find a good story in the news. Sure, this one involves death, but it highlights the compassionate actions of people who had no incentive to help. In fact, they could have been penalized for delaying a flight — one delay can affect dozens of passengers. But in this case, they chose well. They chose compassion. They chose empathy.

There’s not enough in this world. But that day, there was a little more than normal.

Because they chose compassion.