I was 4-years-old when I wrote my first book.
(Does it count if I told my preschool teacher the story and then she wrote my words down? That's a form of ghost-writing, right? )
Let's say it counts.
Even as a shy-ish, blonde-ish, little girl wearing headbands with large bows and printed jean dresses, I had a tendency to process my emotions through storytelling. When I experienced one of the first "traumatic" events of my mere four years that fall, I spun the tale with an imaginative twist to my preschool teacher, Mrs. Schexnaildre. She wrote my words down for me.
And so, my first book was born.
And then another.
Sitting in a tiny chair using my tiny voice, I "wrote" (and properly illustrated with orange stamps, of course) three books in Mrs. Schexnaildre's preschool classroom. I lovingly refer to the trio of stories now as "The Bear Witch Chronicles."
Three Things These Tales Do NOT Include:
Three Things These Tales DO Include:
Take a look at this picture. You tell me if I was a bit scarred from that experience:
What's up with the witches fascination? Right?
Looking back now, it's clear to see little Lindsay was trying to make sense of all the lessons (and scares) life had to offer:
Lesson 1: Beware of the Wicked Witch of the West. She's Legit. Sort of.
I was obsessed with "The Wizard of Oz" film. I loved Dorothy and her snazzy red heels. I was dazzled by Glinda the Good Witch and her pink ball gown and her bubble mode of transportation. The Scarecrow was funny and the Tin Man was sweet and the Lion was gruff and tough.
But the Wicked Witch of the West?
Nope. Little Lindsay was NOT a fan of that Wicked Witch of the West.
Her green face scared me. Her scowl spooked me. Her cackle haunted me.
"She's not real," my mother reassured me. "Don't worry."
That October, my parents took me to a family Halloween party.
All was well until it wasn't.
I remember sitting in the yard and looking out at the long driveway. I remember a figure clothed in black running down the driveway with a long broom and a black pointy hat and a green face.
I remember immediately realizing the Wicked Witch of the West had found me at the Halloween party.
Insert instant tears.
I clung to my mother, who brought me inside with the other terrified children. Turns out the "Wicked Witch of the West" was a neighbor getting into the Halloween spirit. Sitting safe on my mom's lap in the living room couch, I still remember the neighbor's green face smiling at me in her black cloak, broom in hand, reassuring me, "It's okay! I'm nice! See?"
It was all so terrifyingly confusing for me. Three whole books worth.
Lesson 2: Teddy Bears Trump Witches
Obviously. Hence why I still own my oversized Mr. Hersheys the Teddy Bear.
Lesson 3: Celebrate with Coffee
One of my favorite lines I've ever written is in the story "The Teddy Bear that Ate the Witch." Following the teddy bear's adventure where he defeats and eats the witch, he celebrates by "Going home and having a cup of black coffee."
As Teddy should.
As we all should.
Because a good cup of coffee is a great way to round out a day. Especially if that day involves witches.
There's lots of morals to the story here, but at the end of it all, I'm glad Mom saved these masterpieces, and I'm proud of little Lindsay for voicing her fears.
Here I am, more than 20 years later, still trying to do the same.
Have a great weekend!