Alright, it’s about time someone posted on Saturday – even if nobody will read them because nobody reads blogs on Saturday – !
I’ve been working on a book that is a compilation of short stories for… oh… about 10 years now. Which is sad. Of course, in that time, I’ve also graduated college, gotten married, had a baby, moved a few times, and completed four 100,000+ word novels, so maybe not so sad… anyway, thought I’d share some snippets with you all… and start a regular posting habit (because I’ve neglected this poor writing blog for FAR too long).
So… here’s the story of the inspiration behind my book of short stories:
Second Pictures Stories
I got the idea for this book at a birthday party for an eight-year-old boy. His name is unimportant, for most of the names in this book have been changed to protect the innocent. And anyway, this is not a story about this particular young boy’s birthday party, so much as it is about a singular occurrence within the birthday party that gave me the idea for the title of this book. Something struck me when the father of the birthday boy told all the kids to get together for a picture: he said something that sounded so familiar it made me smile and almost laugh.
“We will take two pictures, okay? The first one has to be good. You all have to stand still and smile, no bunny ears or silly faces. Then we can take a second picture and you can do whatever you want.”
How many times had I heard those words? How many times had I stood impatiently through the “good” picture so that we could get to the “wild” picture? And oh! How incredibly long it had always seemed. The “good” picture always seemed to last for an unbearably long time. I stood back and watched as the father took the two pictures. The pictures were snapped and the two moments were captured for all time in the film of the camera. I smiled, there was no doubt in my mind as to which picture would be sent to family and friends.
The picture that would surely go into the family albums and be brought out to show to friends was the one where all the children were standing politely in two rows and smiling beautifully like little angels. However, it was the second picture that most accurately portrayed the reality of the children at the party. In the second picture each child twisted his or her face into the most grotesque image possible, then he grabbed his neighbor’s throat and jumped up into the air. The light flashed as the second picture was taken, capturing for all time the wild antics of these young children.
That picture would be taken out as well as the first one, and everyone would laugh over it in a few years. The children would be grown up and laugh at it too, wondering if they had truly ever been so silly. Yes, they would laugh, but deep in their hearts, they would remember the glorious beauty of childhood, and they would each secretly long for such a time again.
And so, this book is a compilation of “second picture stories,” stories that reveal the true nature of childhood. These stories are exclusively about children, some of them young, some of them not so young. Some of these stories really happened, some of them are from friends, and some of them are even drawn from my own childhood, but it does not matter whether the stories are true or not, or which ones belong to who, what matters is the smiles that they bring. What you do with these stories is entirely up to you, but I would hope that they would help to inspire memories of laughter and fun, and remind us all of a time when we were just a little bit younger, a little bit less mature, a little bit more innocent, and a whole lot wiser.