Fun With Storytime . . . join me

I am in need of something fun and playful and thought maybe you would like to join me.  Let’s write a story.  Here is the set up.


An older woman who feels like her moon is waning stops at a yard sale in a dinky little nowhere town in Nebraska.  In a dingy cardboard box is a bunch of beany babies.  Normally she has no time for overplayed materialistic oversold junk, but in the box is a little rainbow-colored bear with tiny black beads for eyes.  Something about the bear appeals to her, and she pulls him out of the box and pays 50 cents for the privilege of taking him with her.

She has a new (old) car and likes the idea of taking the bear as her new GPS so she sets him on the hump of her steering column and occasionally asks him the somewhat metaphysical (more than physical) question of “where I am going now?”

The bear never talks back.  It has no digital voice box and no real hook up into the global grids that now mark our world.  It is just a rainbow-colored toy bear.

A couple of weeks later the woman (our character needs a name so let’s call her Iris) is driving down a wooded road and sees a mamma black bear with her tiny cub running across the road.  Iris has always love bears and is thrilled at the sighting.  She is so excited she can’t even get her camera out and focused before the bears run off into the woods.

What Iris doesn’t know is that the mamma bear caught a whiff of her depleted and waning spirit.  That mamma bear knows people in way that people seldom know themselves.  On her way off into the woods, she stops a moment, raises a paw, and sends some of her bear powerful energy into the tiny bear plopped on Iris’s steering column.  Mamma grins at her own generosity and decides to also send a bit of her cub’s energy into the bear.

Iris drives on wondering about bears.  She has no idea that her rainbow bear has now been infused with an ancient and powerful spirit.  She thinks it was just a pleasant moment, a rare bear sighting that has occurred.

Until later . . .

Okay, here is where you get to join the fun.  What could happen to an almost-sixty year old woman who has lost hope in the dreams and aspirations of her youth and is suddenly given a large dose of bear energy?

I’ve never tried this before, but I’d like to see what “scenes” you would add to my story.  I have some popping into my head already, but I want you to join the play.  A prize to all who send me a scene—a new novel that I’ll be bringing out in the next few weeks.  Let’s have some fun . . . I’ll post your scenes as they come in.

Maggie—I love your granddaughter’s name, so hope you don’t mind that our character is named after your new cub.

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Fun With Storytime . . . join me — 4 Comments

  1. As Iris continued down the road she seems to get the feeling of happiness that she has not encountered before. She feels the breeze through the car window. She sees the bright colors of spring green in the newly formed leaves. Her senses seem enhanced as if she were being photoshopped into a new perceptions. She hears the sounds of frogs and birds that seem to carry her into a place of dreams. This new awareness begins to frighten her becausse of it’s vivid bright clarity.
    Off in the distance, Iris sees seven colorful forms, each distinct yet as one. When she gets nearer she sees that they are 7 older beautiful women huddled in a circle as if they were in council. The most brightly colored of the women steps out of the circle toward Iris’ car. She signals for her to stop. Even thought Iris is scared she pulls to a slow stop and waits for the woman to come up to her window.
    “Why do you crouch so?” asked the woman. “My name is Polaris, and these are my six sisters. We heard you were on your way here.”
    This really alarmed Iris and she started to roll up her window and drive away but something from inside the car kept calling for her to stay put even if she felt scared.
    “My name is Iris, and I am in a hurry to get home and start supper for my family. I really must run!” Polaris nodded an understanding nod and motioned for her other sisters to join her. “Before you go Iris, I want you to meet my other sisters. They all have wonderful things to offer you but it will take some time before you understand why we are here for you today. I can only tell you this, we are all very centered in this place and we never really leave it often, but in this place we find a multitude of treasures. We would like to know if you would like to explore those places that are right here? We can visit you in a dream or right here at this juncture in the road.”
    Iris was extrememly curious and terrified at the same time. “I need time to think about this, but thank you for your invitation.” The sisters nodded gently, smiled and waved goodbye honoring her request for time. As Iris drove home she could not keep from thinking about what she just saw. The seven women seemed familiar but not clear. They were colorful just like the petals of a beautiful flower, each distinct, but as one. She thought to herself, “I will come back again and see what they have to show me, but not just now.”

    • As I re-read this portion of the story I realized how many edits I needed to make. Sorry for the grammatical, and tense related errors. Do you know how to go back and edit in this format?

  2. Iris drives home, delighted still, as she remembers the mama bear slapping the cub on the rump. “Some things are the same no matter how different the mammals—or the mamas!” She falls asleep with her brain singing “mammals and mamas and mammals and mamas” over and over again.
    Two days later she is counting up the tips in her apron pocket the and smiling to herself. Her sidework is done, and the rest of the day belongs to her as she leaves the Double-up Diner. Her breakfast tips are about a third of what she normally makes on a dinner shift, but it’s worth it to slip into bright sunshine and a playful breeze with nowhere to be and nothing to do for the rest of the day. Something is just a little bit different. She hasn’t thought of spending a day on her own pleasure in many months. The gears in her brain are creaking toward some dim memory of fun, fun for it’s own sake, fun for her sake. Different than distantly enjoying the fun her grandson Liam has when she takes him to the zoo. She will sit on the tiny deck behind her mobile home with sore feet soaking in epsom salts and watch the turkey vultures soar on the horizon. After an hour, her feet will be ready for—what? Walking by the river? Standing as she pokes through volumes at the second-hand bookstore?

    She drives home reveling in the possibilities. A small growling noise rises above the usual engine sounds. She glances at her rainbow bear. “Did you say that?” she inquires, smiling at the bear and herself. He has slipped a little on the steering column so she straightens and secures him, but he is silent. She smiles again, remembering Mama bear swatting her cub on the rump.

    After a foot soak and a glass of peach iced-tea, Iris is in the driver’s seat wearing a lacy bright pink blouse to match her mood. She revs the car before she pulls out of the driveway, trying to hear the little growl again, but there is just the rat-a-tat of a 12 year-old Buick. She cruises toward the river. The bookstore is down the same road, just on the other side of the bridge, so she has a few miles to decide. “Where am I going Little Bear?” She has named him after the Maurice Sendak character her grandson loves. “I said ‘Where am I going Little Bear?'”

    “Are you joking? You’re supposed to know,” followed by a soft growl, comes from the steering column. Iris startles for a fraction of a second, then stiffens and mutters “Drive, Iris, drive!”

    “Yes Iris, drive!” comes the rough childish voice from the steering column. “Drive to the river. I want to play.”

    Iris pulls over and puts the car in park. She shakes. Thoughts of hallucinations and schizophrenia running through her mind. She breathes slowly for a while. Then comes delight. And a friendly curious wondering.
    “All right,” she says, playing along, although whether she is playing along with her own mind or Something Else she isn’t sure. “We’ll go to the river,”
    She hears an approving anticipatory growl as she moves the car into traffic. She drives a mile in silence, then when the bridge comes into view, follows the signs for Melrose River Park. She parks, turns off the engine, and stares at the bear thoughtfully. Then she peels him away from the little sticky pads mounting him to the steering wheel, tucks him under her arm, and walks to the grandfather oaks shading the river bank.

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