And Though She Be But Little And Smartly Dressed, She Is Fierce

Little Red Riding HoodMy daughter Maia’s love of Greek gods and heroes often bleeds into other mythologies. Her typical conversation starters go like this one:

Maia: You know Little Red Riding Hood?

Me: Yes.

Maia: She’s the goddess of clothing. And axes.

I’m continually impressed by my daughter’s creativity. Her stories in which folklore and even the everyday mingle with divinity entertain as well as situate my own attempts at inventiveness. My situation isn’t too impressive. Lately, I tend to congratulate myself for the likes of recycling leftover chicken into savory hand pies for the next day’s lunch. Next to Maia’s collaborative tales, my kitchenry seems more frugal than imaginative.

Once upon a time, I too told stories. But stories take time. With two daughters captivating every bit of my heart and days, I’ve little time for more than telling stories about their stories. Here, I’m a few steps removed from creativity. I’m even a bit removed from myself. My About Me page claims that I write to explore “what it is to be a woman, a thinker, and a mother.” And I do. But I also blog to continue journaling for my daughters. It’s an almost structured way to save a few glimpses into their childhoods for them.

A long time ago, after a particularly busy time in my life, a friend promised that The Artists’ Way would lead me back to my creative self. So I borrowed her copy of Julia Cameron’s book and each morning, I wrote. Sometimes, just as fast as I could. Sometimes, I told stories.

But that was in a far away place. I was staying in Mexico, where I had no job, no home, no coffee, no calendar, no clock. There it is: I had time. Once upon a time, I told stories.

Now, while I’m making hand pies, Maia’s juggling pieces of narratives in her head. She’s watching the rise and fall of capes and gowns and the heroes who wear them, imagining stage props, and (re)arranging bits of meaning.

Sometimes, I almost wish for more time to think up stories of my own. But really, Maia’s stories are mine, too. It’s not that I’ve no time, no stories. Rather, my stories have changed. Or at least my role has changed. Now, I’m the spectator-scribe. Instead of imagining myself the heroine, I’m admiring another heroine. One who plays the part of Little Red Riding Hood, an ax wielding haut couture goddess.

Take your time, Maia. Take mine too. Because ours is a great story.

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