Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Once Upon a Time....

My inner author was born on a bed of pillows beside a cassette player, downstairs in my big sisters' room.
     I was seven or eight years old and I remember waiting outside the bedroom door with my little sister, Risa, giggling with anticipation, while on the other side of the door a world was being created just for us. Our three older sisters, Rebecca, Reana and Rachel, had been in there all day, it seemed. By pressing our ears against the door, we could hear the muffled sounds of voices, music, and laughter. Then we would scramble away quickly as Rebecca came flying out, telling us to "shoo!" as she ran off to fetch something important. She would return with curious things like hard-cover books and empty flower pots and then disappear again into the room.
     Finally, the project was finished and Risa and I were welcomed into the room on a red carpet (or pink towel). We were treated as royalty as we made our way to the bed that had been made plush and cozy for us, complete with food and drink, and there in the middle of the room sat the cassette player. Once we were all settled in, someone pressed play and the magic began.
     The room filled with Rachel's voice narrating a tale about two princesses named Mia and Zephronia, who lived in a beautiful kingdom called Omarrio.  The princesses' voices were done by Reana and Rebecca, whose superb acting brought the story to life. Risa and I were on the edge of our seats as Mia and Zephronia set off on a quest to avenge their brother's death by Tabron, the dragon. Along the way they met many interesting characters, such as little people and giants and talking birds. Background music and the sounds of tinkling glasses created crystal clear images in my little girl mind. My sisters had thought of everything. They even "galloped" clay pots against book covers to imitate the sound of horse hooves!
      I fell in love with the art of story-telling there in that room. When the tape was over, Risa and I wanted to listen to it again and again. We begged our sisters to make more like it and they obliged us only once more before leaving us to our own imaginations.

     For weeks my mind was alive with stories and characters that I wished someone would let out! If only my sisters would record more stories on the cassette tape. If only there were a movie or a book out there that would tell these stories!
      And then something revolutionary happened. My sister, Rachel, decided to write a book.
      Write a book? Anyone could do it, just like that?

      I started right away. With a black binder full of lined paper, a sharpened pencil, and my 8-year-old vocabulary, I released the characters that had been dancing in my head and they spilled out in a colorful deluge of mermaids, princesses, castles, witches, and pet dolphins. My first book was entitled "The Legend of Two Worlds", about a mermaid princess named Lissie and her green best friend, a mermaid witch named Linda. While playing with magic, they accidentally became humans and after being washed up on a royal beach were taken in by the prince who ordered a tutor to teach them how to speak the local language. There was comedy, magic, romance, and several diamond-encrusted seashells. The best part were the illustrations on the bottom of every page, drawn by Rebecca and colored by me. Tragically, as I got older I became embarrassed by this masterpiece and threw it away. I'll never forgive myself for that.
       A moment of silence for the lost work.
       Wow, I hate myself.
       What's done is done. On to a brighter future!
       I went on to create other worlds, breathed life into other characters. By the time I graduated high school I had finished a total of six novels, with several others in the works. My family often lost me to writing comas, when the worlds in my mind would become so real that they would pull me to the computer and flow from my brain, down my arms and fingers, through the keyboard, and onto a self-publishing site, where my small fare of fans would read and comment on each installment. If I wasn't writing, it was because I was curled up on the couch with a book, twirling my hair as I read, lost to reality.
       When I caught myself leaving the "Book Worm" phase and entering the "Schizophrenic Zombie" phase, I forced myself to wake up to reality and find some other, healthier hobbies. I went out with friends, I went to college, I hiked mountains at midnight to reach the peaks by sunset, I repelled off of cliffs, I started running and eating like a hippy, I lived as a missionary in Brazil, I became more business-oriented.
        But all the while, that sleeping inner author dreamed.  She dreamed and snored and snored and dreamed some more, building up her store of ideas, until the day that she would one day reawaken.


  1. Yay! I love reading anything and everything you write! Even this blog post had me laughing and wanting more! You really have a gift that should not slumber any longer.

  2. I don't know, all the characters in the story have names that begin with the letter R, that doesn't seem very realistic…

  3. AHHH! This makes me so excited, Rai!!! I'm very proud to say that I was one of your biggest fans during our Fictionpress days :-) Sometimes I can't believe how many stories we wrote and (most importantly) finished! It's definitely time to pull out those pens (or laptops) again! I can't wait to read your next story. Inner authors unite!

  4. P.S. (not my initials... I mean they are but... you know what I mean) - I posted about you on my blog :)