Stories are one of my first memories. My mother read to me everyday at naptime, and I always had a lot of children’s books. I remember my very first picture book; When Daddy Comes Home to Me was about a dad in a suit returning in the evening from the office. I was mesmerized by that daddy because he was so different from my blue collar daddy who came home for lunch each day from an auto parts store at the time. Another first book was a fat tome of stories about forest animals, elves and fairies playing with or tricking children in gardens. I drive down country roads now when the spring may apples pop up in ditches and on shoulders and find myself wondering if a mouse or a toad is serving tea and cake under those plant umbrellas.
I continued to love stories read by teachers at school, ones I read to myself, memories told at family reunions, or tales told by elderly neighbors. Then I began to write my own stories. Often now, I find myself frustrated by my lack of creativity or my limited new ways to see old stories. But then I remember I need to lighten up and enjoy the pleasure of the search. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron says, “Remember that art is process. The process is supposed to be fun.”