Friday, January 13, 2012

Secret Writers

"Can you keep a secret?"

Child #2 and I were walking to school earlier this week. His sister had been dropped off early for choir so it was just the two of us. It's cold in Portland right now, meaning below 40 degrees, so he was wearing his little knit hat with the tassle and skipping along the sidwalk next to me.

"Of course I can," I said.

He made me lean down so he could whisper in my ear. "I'm kind of a spy. You can't tell anyone because I'm here to keep you safe."

"You are?"

This looks like a cool spy hideout!
He nodded and chased a squirrel up an elm tree, then he added "I've got a secret spy hideout. It's under the basement floor. You have to press a button to get down there and, Mom, there's another thing."

"What is it?"

"I don't want you to worry...," he paused and gave me a serious look, "but we have guns. The real kind. But I promise, we only use them to shoot the bad guys."

We arrived at school before the bell rang and I helped him stow his hat and coat in his locker. He hugged me good bye and whispered "Ninjago," in my ear.

"Ninjago?" I asked.

"Shh, that's the code word."

"Oh, okay."

He held out his arms and said "I need an extra big kiss today." I gave him one and then left him at school to get down to the business of being in first grade.

All the way home I thought about the secret worlds I used to create when I was a kid. My worlds had elves, fairies and demons with secret doors that served as passageways between here and there. As a kid, it never occured to me to write my stories down. I was too busy acting them out and making up new ones.

Child #2's fantasies felt nostalgic, familiar. Maybe because they reminded me so much of the kinds of stories I used to dream up thirty some years ago.

I wonder, does this mean he's going to be a writer, or does it mean that each of us has a writer hidden inside, waiting to get out?

p.s. Please don't tell him his mother can't keep a secret! 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I won't tell a soul. Cool code name!

Beylit said...

That is really cool.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Aw, that's awesome! He has such a great imagination!

Matthew MacNish said...

I think every person has the soul of a storyteller.

And now I really miss when I used to be able to walk my kids to school. They're way too old for it now.

AimeeC said...

LOLOL. My first grader son is head over heels for Ninjago. I loved this.

Jenny S. Morris said...

I have totally had this moment. Child #1 tells the most amazing stories and I puff up with pride knowing that some day he will be a writer. But I agree, I think as kids we all embrace our imagination and let it run.

Side note. I stepped on a skeleton with a ninjago head on it last night. Creepy little dude.

Unknown said...

My lips are sealed. What a cool kid. I think we're safer knowing he's out there. :)

I think we all have a writer waiting to get out or a filmmaker. I think we all love to just tell stories.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I created all kinds of strange worlds when I was a kid. Some of them required me to put aluminum foil up my nose.

Connie J Jasperson said...

My oldest daughter is now writing a book. She is writing a book about four girlfriends and a weekend trip. I have been enjoying being her beta-reader immensely. She is a gal who always had a vivid world that she played in as a child. As did I!

Kathleen Barker said...

Love the vivid imagination of your son!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

What a cute story!
Daughter #1 is a writer, too. She's more talented than I was at her age. And has more persistence, too.

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Alex and Beylit!

Hi Nicole, sometimes too much so ;)

Matt, totally agree.

Aimee and Jenny, what is it with the Ninjago craze?

Melissa, yes, definitely safer ;)

Michael, that's funny and sounds kind of painful!

Connie, that's so cool!

Thanks Kathleen!

Dianne, persistence is the key.

Talli Roland said...

The secret is safe with me! :)

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

That is so cool. My oldest is in first grade, it's such a fun age. She is always writing stories. Let's just hope they never lose that imagination.

The Bookworm said...

awww...too cute :) I think kids just have such fun imaginations, most of us tend to lose that as we grow up.

jenny milchman said...

It's definitely the age. The other day my mystery-solving-team-of-two concluded that *I* was the thief! Their proof? How I took cash out of my jacket pocket...and I never carry cash. The Mystery of the Loose Floorboards pertains to my daughter's bedroom, where there be gold if only those boards were just a little looser. I remember scurrying around the neighborhood and finding mystery after mystery to solve. Spies seem to be in the same camp. I wonder if writers will develop--or just some really righteously fun grownups??

Teresa Cypher said...

This is the sweetest post! I love children's imaginations... Anything is possible to a child--anything. It is sad that when humans grow up, most lose that ability to invent such fantastical tales. Thank goodness for writers, hanging on to dreams and fantasies of all the things beyond the eyes in our faces.

Lovely blog, Johanna. Thanks for sharing. And *whispering* I won't tell your little fella that you can't keep a secret. :-)

Anonymous said...

I think that second image is where Lord Vordmort hid one of his horcruxes.

Johanna Garth said...

Thanks Talli!

Rachel, fingers tightly crossed!

Naida, I think that's why so many people love to read.

Jenny, possibly righteously fun writer grown ups? Or not, but hopefully they don't lose the fun piece.

Thanks so much Teresa!

Stephen, that's what I'm going to tell Potterfanatic Child #1