I was tracing over-sized tropical flowers onto long strips of colored butcher paper, the kind you find on giant rolls in the faculty lounge, when Mrs. Wirthlin shouted to my best friend, “Lara, cry like you mean it.”
We were almost twelve, and Lara was starring as Dorothy in the annual sixth grade play. Mrs. Wirthlin explained to the preteen cast that Dorothy is a difficult role to play because she is a real, human girl.
“Sometimes it’s easier,” said Mrs. Wirthlin, her magnificent classroom voice always flowed with vibrato as though she were on the verge of singing about fractions in an opera, “to cackle like a witch, roar like a lion, or squeak like a munchkin than to cry, believably, like a real girl.”
My name is Maleah, and I write contemporary women’s fiction – the kind that chronicles real life and doesn’t have any heart-throbbing vampires or bare-chested Fabio’s.
If fiction gives readers a momentary escape from their reality, then why would anyone want to read fiction so real that it borders on being creative nonfiction?
Good question. Maybe nobody does. But I will write anyway, because
life is rich, messy, interesting, monotonous, beautiful, hideous, exhilarating, and devastating.
Life is so easy to complicate.
I must attempt to capture real life with words, like a child who chases a butterfly with a net, hoping to trap the graceful creature – not to cage, but to slow for a brief moment of closer examination, admiring its magnificent, yet delicate form. When the child releases the creature to again fly free, he barely feels the ripples in the air that softly kiss his cheeks, and then crescendo to form tsunamis on the opposite side of the earth.
This is my goal – to momentarily entrap and ponder the metamorphosis of the monarch life.
I will see you here on Smashing Stories every 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month.
post script–the child in the picture is mine, the butterfly is courtesy of photoshop.