Follow your heart and make the magic happen
Why I Write Children’s Stories
Writing for children is fun. I have four daughters and they love to hear Dad’s stories at bedtime. In fact, they’re the reason I started writing in the first place. I’m always writing something, but it’s my kids that got me started writing children’s stories.
I believe that we are all kids-at-heart as we go through life, some of us more than others, and that we never really grow up. Instead, we just get bigger with more things that we have to take care of: like having to get a job to pay the bills, or learning how to drive a car so we can drive to the job we had to get to pay the bills. One of the most exciting things we get to do as a grownup though is getting married and raising a bunch of kids of our own. As a parent, I’ve found, we never want our children to grow up. It would be so wonderful if they could just stay little forever, like in “Neverland”, but that doesn’t happen. They get big too, just like we did; they buy a car so they can go to their job to pay the bills and end up eventually getting married and having children of their own.
That job thing keeps coming up, doesn’t it? So I will tell you how you can drive a really cool car, get a great job to pay the bills, and remain a kid forever. The secret is “to do something you really love to do.” That’s it! Oh sure, our parents will tell us to get an “entry level job” you know, like working at McDonalds or something. But is that your dream?
When I was a kid I lived on a dairy; there were so many everyday-chores to take care of that all I thought about was getting away from there and doing something else. I suppose working at McDonalds would have appealed to me at the time. But we all have dreams to do or be something special when we grow up: a fighter pilot, a policeman, an astronaut, a doctor, or even the President of these United States. The thing to remember is “to follow your heart.” I know, I probably sound like Jiminy Cricket, but that’s the secret, and that’s how to stay young and happy for the rest of your life.
My dream was to create. Now creation is a grand old job that goes way back. You will find creators in every aspect of life. Poets, writers, musicians, architects and inventors, artists of every kind. People who have a vision or a dream and follow their heart.
When I was fourteen my parents bought me an electric guitar from Sears. It was one of those gifts we get in life that we never forget. The first thing I wanted to do when I got that guitar was to create a song. I practiced and practiced until I was able to play three or four chords. Then I sat down and wrote my first song:
I want to be a rock’n’roll star
play on the stage with my guitar
make a hit record and go real far
I want to be a rock’n’roll star
Not a great song, but I felt I was on my way to fame and fortune. I guess during that stage of my life I was considered a problem child by my parents, but I had this burning desire to succeed as a songwriter and no one was going to change my mind. Ten years later I remember hitchhiking to Hollywood, California, against everyone’s advice, and meeting some people there that loved my work. I sold seven songs to “4StarMusic” which was owned by none other than Roy Rogers, one of my favorite all-time cowboy heroes. Shazam! The magic happened! I had attained success by remaining focused on my goal. And my dream came true.
I was now a legitimate songwriter and I was getting paid for it. That fact always seems to quiet any doubting Thomas’s. When our parents actually see us making money at what we do, then they feel we have grown up, can pay our bills, and they don’t have to worry about us anymore; at least not until we get married.
My point is, we all have that desire inside of us. We can do what we love and get paid for it too. There are always obstacles, always things to overcome, but that is how life is. Just remember to never lose sight of your dream and that all things are possible.
After I was able to pay my bills, I bought a car and decided to get married. I met a beautiful schoolteacher that I immediately fell in love with; I played my guitar and sang some of my songs for her and she fell in love with me. We got married and had a child, then another, and another, and still one more. Now I have four lovely daughters and they love to hear me make up bedtime stories for them. Which brings us back around to why I am telling you all this in the first place.
Every night, I would have to come up with a new and different story. My kids were adamant about that. I guess the fact that they taxed my brain for something new everytime helped me to learn to be original and entertaining. I discovered that if I included them as characters in the stories they were even more enthused about it. So I began a continuing story that I called, “The Castle Book Stories.” In the story, a magic book is found by my daughters. Inside the book are pictures of different colored castles. The pictures moved when you looked at them, and in reality were windows into other worlds. By entering into the pictures, the sisters would travel to that particular colored castle and have an adventure. For example: “The Black Castle” told of an evil witch that had frozen the Black Castle’s King and Queen and all their subjects. When the girls first arrived there they had to figure out how to defeat the witch and break the spell. Not an easy task I assure you, because that witch was a real bad one. But by learning to work together they were able to win out the day. Each time they overcame the problem and restored peace unto the land, the King and Queen would award them with a magical object that they could use later in another castle adventure. My daughters loved these stories and eventually, when it came time for bed, they would just tell me what color castle they wanted to hear about, and I would make something up. The Rainbow Castle was one of their favorites.
One thing led to another, and I started writing some of these stories down. I found that writing children’s stories was just a continuation of my song-writing career, so I began to do it in earnest. I will soon have a collection of my short stories appearing in a book from Pam Publishing called, “Stories From A Babbling Book.” I have just begun on my adventure of creating stories and like I said, I love to create; it’s what I was born to do. What does your heart tell you to do? Whatever it is, just remember to follow your heart; live your dream; and make the magic happen.