Storytellers Creed has become my favorite creed to live by. It was given to me by my wonderful, and oh-so-supportive sister-in-law, Mary Ann Krzyzanowski. The Storytellers Creed is hanging on a wall in my “she-cave” providing daily inspiration:
I’m moving to a weekly venue vs. bi-monthly since that obviously didn’t work for me last year. **Sigh**. I’ve also changed the headings a bit to spruce things up and add a little pizzazz and excitement to the mix. I hope you agree? Please let me know what you think. I would be honored to hear from you.
“My Better Day” is a weekly, rotating, heart-centered journal on:
Crack open the door to the magic awaiting inside. It’s always been there. Please visit often, as your spirit moves you to make your day a Better Day! And please share!
Founder, Better Day Yoga LLC
I’ve always had an affinity toward all things magical and totally agree with the opening quote: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” How about you? Have you ever wondered what instills this magic inside of you so much that it becomes innate? Read on to hear the roots of my magical installment.
I remember my eight-year-old self riding my bicycle around with a Lego-made fairy house propped in my bicycle basket. Every fairy needs a home, right? I treasured shows like The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, and The Borrowers. As an adult, I discovered Darby O’Gill and the Little People—a must-see this time of year with St. Patrick’s day fast approaching.
My March 2011 newsletter was my last installment on this magical, mystical, passionate subject. The time has come again. It’s long over-due if you ask me. This story has been on my periphery for some time now, begging to be shared. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did living it.
In that 2011 newsletter, I mentioned a favorite childhood book:
“Similar to other children, I grew up with a fervent belief in all things magical. Houdini was one of my childhood heroes. My favorite childhood book was a book about elves, fairies and mermaids. I think it was The Golden Books Treasury of Elves and Fairies or The Giant Golden Book of Elves and Fairies with assorted Pixies, Mermaids, Brownies, Witches, and Leprechauns by Jane Werner. Unfortunately, it didn’t survive my childhood. From the comments on Amazon for the second book mentioned, I have to believe the illustrator’s magical drawings affected more than just me as a child believing in magic.
One small mention of “the book” to my oldest sister and she went off on a tangent about the mermaids in the book. My special memory was a depiction of an elfin family beneath a tree. No space went unused. There was a loaf of bread stored in the crevice of one root, and others were used as furniture. I could get lost in that illustration and I did many times as a child.”
Well this past Fall I decided to finally go for it on Amazon and purchased what my best instinct/memory told me was the treasured childhood book. There were finally some used ones in Amazon at a price I could afford. A few years ago they were a couple of hundred dollars! From an array of various versions of Golden Books of Fairies and Elves, I chose the one with the blue cover.
I waited with anticipation for my beloved childhood book to come. Now keep in mind I knew what I was getting in the mail. I could barely open it quick enough I was so excited. The nano-second I saw the details on the cover up close and personal, my inner child let out a wistful gasp and my eyes started to tear up. With each page I turned, another and another squeal of excitement came out. “Oh! That one! I remember that one!” Hah! Yes! I remember him!” “Oh, yes! That one was really special!” And then the page came up: the elfin family beneath the tree….the tears flowed. I couldn’t quit crying. All of this happened literally within a matter of a few seconds as I quickly turned page after page. When I finally got to the mermaid story, I immediately remembered my sister’s fondness for this one and thought “of course—yes, yes of course! The mermaids!”
While I had yearned for this book for a long time, I could not have predicted this particular reaction was buried deep inside. I knew I would enjoy it. I knew it was a special memory for me. But not for one iota of a second had I imagined I’d be moved so deeply and instantaneously upon viewing the illustrations. I was brought right back to my childhood in a split second as if on a literal time machine. It was as though I found a long, lost childhood friend and confidant. I had rediscovered the portal to my magical childhood kingdom.
I can only say as a child I must have spent literally hours getting lost within the pages of this treasured book. I intimately knew each detail and had committed to memory every minute character illustrated within its pages. They were all still there, buried in my memory, waiting for me to come back and play. They each still held a special spot within my heart. They had comforted me when I was sad and lonely and had filled me with awe and wonder so many times so long ago and they still do—this was the big surprise. This was the special treasure. This depth of emotion still amazes me.
For the next few days I’d sit down to slowly re-read, embrace, and relive these treasured stories. My husband would catch me crying profusely. One time he didn’t know I was reading. He only heard me sobbing and asked out loud from the other room if I was okay. Through tears I sobbed “he made her silver slippers…” and my voice trailed off.
Of course, I was referring to “Singeli’s Silver Slippers” translated from Swedish by Martha Inez Johnson. It’s a story of a poor, shoemaker who wanted only to provide shoes as beautiful as his beloved daughter, Singeli. So he chose to make them with silver-colored leather vs. the more frugal, common, wooden shoes. One night the fairies-of-fortune came to the shoemaker’s house and stroked the silver shoe leather Singeli’s father was crafting for his daughter, whispering: “Little slippers, Go only on bright roads, Only on good roads, Only on right roads.” And whispered to the sleeping Singeli “If you, dear child, Go astray, Silver slippers will vanish away.” The shoes then turned into real silver. I don’t want to ruin it for you.
I try to logically explain the emotion: Perhaps it was because I knew my grandfather was a shoemaker (my mom’s dad whom I’ve never met) that this story touched me so deeply, or perhaps it was because my own dad always made me feel this special and he is now passed. Re-reading the treasured stories re-awakened the hopeful child within still full of wonder and awe at the magic of it all. (I’m not certain she ever went to sleep, truth-be-told.) Most likely it was a culmination of all of the above that brought me to my knees with emotion. I could not quit crying.
Each story left me overwhelmed with heart-felt emotion. The Pixies’ Scarf by Alison Uttley tells a tale of a young boy who finds a pixies’ scarf while picking berries with his grandmother. He’s told adamantly by his grandmother to return the scarf, for surely the pixies will know he has it and come for it; but he keeps the scarf any way. The scarf imbues him with magical abilities to hear and understand all of wild life—the birds in the trees and the fish in the river—even the stones spoke. “Like a mirror on the ground” he could see wildlife below like the rabbits nestled in their homes. “The earth itself seemed to be whispering, and the stream answered back.” Of course, the pixies came to claim their scarf and the boy barters it for some pixie marbles made of “pixie rubies and emeralds” –“green as grass in April, blood-red, snow-white, and blue as the night sky”. He knew they contained magic and “would capture every other” marble.
And if you doubt the magic this book carries, please read on. Seconds after just completing this magical story, I was still in a mesmerized stupor when my husband says “Listen to this!” and he shares a story from his business magazine: “A decades old plane crash, originating from India, has been found in the French Alps. They discovered a metal box believed to be on board the flight containing rubies, sapphires, and emeralds worth an estimated $332,000!”… Whoa!! Seriously? That’s the story he decides to share at that exact moment? Goose bumps! Does anyone reading this doubt that this book finding its way back to me was magically inclined? Thump on the head from the wee folk!
Fast forward a few weeks and I decide to order a couple more used books as Christmas presents for my siblings. My oldest sister has no idea what I am giving her. We aren’t even supposed to exchange presents. Only the younger members of the family get the gifts here.
I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be, but I was bursting out of my seat as she opened it. As she ripped the wrapping paper off, she immediately said “Why do I know this book?” She looked down at it and then at me in quick succession and immediate tears. Neither of us could quit crying. She looked and looked and looked at every page as we both bawled and hugged over and over. Our relatives have become used to our antics by now but even they were wondering “what the heck?”
She, too, shared that it “was like finding an old friend you thought you’d never see again.” She said, “It brought me right back to my childhood and I kind of want to stay there awhile.” She couldn’t believe her reaction either. It overtakes you immediately and whisks you off to the magical realm. But what about my brother….?
We celebrated Christmas with my brother’s family the next day. After some confusion as to where the second book I thought I brought was, I figured it was still in Minnesota nine hours away. So I started to ask my brother if he remembered a book from childhood about fairies and elves. I wasn’t sure if he read it. I mean do boys read about fairies and elves? We were close as children, but didn’t read together persé. He thought a moment and said “was the cover green?” “Oh no”, I said, “It’s blue—definitely blue.” All of a sudden I noticed the unwrapped book sticking out of the bag of gifts we brought. (I didn’t wrap it because I was considering giving it to my other sister if she came—which she did not. I was time-crunched for wrapping, as we all are. I knew my brother would understand.)
As I handed the book over to my brother I noticed the back was pure green. Here’s to the memories of our childhood! His reaction was slow and methodical, as is his demeanor. With girls I think it’s all about emotion and sobbing. With boys, there’s less outward emotion and more logic and details. At first I was a bit disappointed thinking he was not as moved as his sisters had been, but then he started his commentary: “Oh yah, I remember him. And that one. I remember that one. Oh yah…Oh yah.”
As he continued to page through, he came upon the page that had haunted my memory for so long—the elfin family beneath the tree. And he says “Oh…oh yah, there it is. That’s the one.” So it was a special illustration for him too! He silently continued to page through and then said with a lot of thought “I wonder what it is about this book that stays in your memory. Is it the color? Is it the storyline? There I am back in our basement again.” The basement was our toy room. We played there for hours in our childhood.
What was your favorite childhood book? Find it. It holds the key to magical memories. It is worth its weight in gold. You won’t regret a single penny spent in bringing it back into your life. Crack open the magic and take a ride back in time when scarves had magical powers and slippers turned to silver. Like Peter Pan you’ll be the boy or girl who never grew up. Meet me there and we’ll hang out.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” ~ Rumi