Thursday, January 22, 2009


My daughter is just on the threshold of the i-pod years. At 10, she dips in and then almost as quickly recedes back to her 429 stuffed animals, cat's cradle and the comforts and routines of childhood.

During one of her recent sojourns, she downloaded "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield; a hauntingly beautiful pop song that I am sure we have all heard before. Click here to see the music video. Molly says that she heard it for the first time when she was 8 on an east coast airplane trip to see Jake's parents. She was bored and was cruising the in-flight headphones, stumbled upon it and has loved it ever since. This I believe, the kid has an amazing memory.

Well, i-tunes is easy enough to figure out in the end with luck, help and a kid nearby. Molly got i-tune bucks for Christmas so she spent some on this long beloved and remembered song. I haven't heard it since because the i-pod is either lost, misplaced, forgotten or in her ears. Usually in that order.

But, tonight she told me at dinner that the song had inspired her to write a story. Very solemnly with all seriousness, she said, "There is a life story in this song and I am going to write it."

"The story is about a girl who is born partially blind and as a newborn is struggling for her first breath. All the adults are freaking out but a small boy believes that she will make it. He is an optimist." she explains.

"The mother tears spill onto the baby's face because she thinks the baby will die but the mother's tears miraculously restore her sight."

"It is a life story and I want there to be a romance and it will end with her having a baby of her own."

She said she already wrote the prologue, which is from the optimistic boy's perspective. She stopped because she ran out of paper not because she ran out of ideas.

I don't really know what to say to all this. I am dazzled, proud, amazed and perplexed. As a parent, of course, we always, ALWAYS encourage our kids when they go off on these whims. But, it got me thinking about where does true inspiration comes from and how it is fostered? How do we keep it going without forcing or pressuring? When does encouragement turn into fawning, gushing over-praise? I doubt there is a parent out there that can be objective about their own kid. There in lies much of the struggle; no one else can really help with this job.

"Wow, Moll. I want to read that story." I added the slightly lame comment, "I will always make sure you have more paper for your ideas." It seemed like a promise I could keep. She takes it in stride, I am not in her way. She is creating, tasting, experimenting with and living different lives in her head corralling them to eventually give them life on a page.

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