One of my favorite authors is Neil Gaiman. He wrote some of my favorites, including Coraline, The Graveyard Book and Neverwhere. He writes a blog at http://journal.neilgaiman.com/ which I stumbled across today while reading another blog. In scanning through a question, and the subsequent answer, caught my eye and gave me one of those pauses.
It was this:
If you could choose a quote – either by you or another author – to be inscribed on the wall of a public library children’s area, what would it be?
I’m not sure I’d put a quote up, if it was me, and I had a library wall to deface. I think I’d just remind people of the power of stories, of why they exist in the first place. I’d put up the four words that anyone telling a story wants to hear. The ones that show that it’s working, and that pages will be turned:
“…and then what happened?“
I love when a writer (or anyone with an incredible ability to use words) is able to so completely and simplistically sum up what both a storyteller and a story listener understand. Some of my most precious memories, especially in these most recent years, are looking at the eyes of Cole and Grace as they watch me and I spin a story about a silly boy and girl, or whatever strikes my fancy at the time.
And it got me thinking.. especially as this time of year comes around and we’re caught up in the decorations and the present buying and the festivities and parties..how simple of a story it was, especially to a child. I tell Cole and Grace about the donkey and Joseph and Mary and the baby born in a manger and their eyes light up with the wonder of it all. I can see them thinking about the starlight, and the animals, and the precious little baby.
But my favorite part is at the end of the story.. when we discuss the baby being given the gifts by the wise men. Nothing makes my heart swell more to hear them both ask me, “and then what happened?“.