The Widow and the Orphan
Someone old, someone new, borrow a spark from me and make it blue.
This is an excerpt from the upcoming “Spark: How to write a book with your kids–and why you should.” As I work on it, the idea grows and attracts parents and … non-parents.
Even just the title of this chapter makes me want to write a story.
The way to connect to people is to relate to who they are and do something that stretches you outside of your comfort zone. — Stacy Brown-Philpot
For most of this book, I’ve talked about “you” and “them” in terms that we usually understand to be:
But it could very easily be:
- Uncle and niece,
- Single guy and neighbor kid,
- or how about widow and orphan?
I have a specific person in mind with this concept. She’s 94 years old and is sharp as a tack. She has stories to tell until the cows come home (and long after they’ve gone to sleep). She has more energy than most people a quarter of her age and I’ve only ever heard the following request in the presence of her:
“Could you slow down grandma? We can’t keep up.”
She’s a machine.
Here’s a wild thought for Spark: what if we could connect widows and orphans? Widowers and the girl down the street who doesn’t really connect with her parents?
I’m not talking about adoption. I’m talking about a 1-month, start-to-finish, short book they’d create together.
What if Spark brought together two strangers who then collaborated on something? Who knows, maybe the chemistry didn’t quite gel and it fizzled out after a week. But what if something happened? They met a few times and started to talk. The little girl wanted to tell a story about her doll and her dog and how they talk to each other but nobody ever wanted to listen. What if the old man in the senior living community listened intently to the girl and whispered to her, “I can hear them talking now, Nina, but I can’t quite understand what they’re saying. Could you translate for me?”
Can you see the story sparkling to life in front of the girl’s eyes? Her imagination would explode and she would have a captive audience who truly wanted to hear her story and what the doll was saying to the dog.
In 30 days, they’d have a finished book. Things got a little out of hand and the old man eventually called in the nurse to transcribe everything the girl was saying in the story as his hands got tired from all that writing. The three of them sat around the lunch table and “The Adventures of Fifi and Fido” came to life.
Grandpa and the nurse thought things were all good and done until the next time the little girl came by and said, “I have another story. Could you help me again?”
I see Sparks flying, embers warming, and moving in closer to the campfire to get going on book number two in the “Fifi & Fido” series.
Do you know anyone in a senior living community who might like to connect? How about a child who could use an ear to listen?
Maybe we could make this work. Let me know if you have any ideas.