There is Another World, There is a Better World

As most of you know, I started an email account for my daughter when she was a toddler. I write frequently to this account-sending her letters and quotes and music and poetry.  When she is older, I will give her the password, so she can have all these letters and memories and experiences in one place. This is something I wrote today to send to her.

Dearest Bridget,

The best part of my day is driving you to school every morning. For the past couple weeks, you have been pulling me into a crystal ball that cradles a magical realm culled from foggy wisps of your dreams.  As I slightly disobey speed limits and sip coffee, maneuvering the car with the palms of my hands—you tell me about a wizard you have named Forest McMorris, who rules over the forest and travels its dark underbelly. His cape rippling behind him, slipping over the dark spongey moss, he glides through an obstacle course of trees, observing the world around him glittering with life.  Birds hover and flowers yawn open as his curious presence passes through. You embroider this magical world onto a blank canvas with the silken thread of your words.       

One day, you tell me that Forest McMorris, drunk on power, has turned evil. I ask what he has done that was so bad. You tell me he has made everything invisible in the world. The world is a white room of invisible dangers—humans walking along tripping on steps, shin-banging on coffee tables, kissing walls.  I agree that sounds evil. You tell me not to worry though, a witch named North McSister has made a magic gun and shot him dead-in a bid for good to regain control over the forest. Upon his death, all the items in our way begin reemerging in our vision, reentering our sight…color rapidly bleeding back into our world, watercolors soaking into the paper. I cheer at the world’s axis tipping over slightly to the good side with a slight thud and a shudder that shakes loose the sunbeams from the clouds. You tell me not to cheer, that it’s not the end of the story yet. My little Mary Shelley. My sweet Scheherazade.

The next day, you tell me Forest McMorris was powerful enough to resurrect himself and stole away to the forest with North McSister’s gun. He has made it his own. Oddly enough, you tell me that he considers the gun to be his pet and in a moment of loneliness has even named the wicked thing. I ask you what the gun’s name is. Schlutzberg, you tell me. Without even a pause. Schlutzberg. I laugh at the name till you tell me North was killed by her own creation. Ah, yes, so often it is the misery we bring to others that doubles back around for us.

Later in the week, I asked you for an update on Forest McMorris. You told me I would have to wait till this Thursday for Part II.  I asked why I had to wait so long. You told me I would just have to be patient because you had to dream up a spell for zombies for the next part of the story. I told you that I looked forward to hearing about these adventures & asked if I might be able to hear more of the story before Thursday. You smiled and said, “Mom, don’t worry, it’s going to deliver.”  Bait on a hook. Wriggle & wait. 

It has occurred to me that you will be a far better writer than your mother. You have a bounty of imagination growing on the arbor of your mind, all grasping vines & tendrils hungrily reaching outward. In contrast, your mother shrivels into her past, letting her childhood trauma dictate her retelling of a history of ashes. But while I am dealing in ashes, Bridget, you are the phoenix to rise from them.  I love that you have chosen to breathe creation into magical worlds…I love that you have chosen to fan your spark…words catching on fire like tinder, igniting into a bonfire seen for miles around. I’ve always known there was too much magic to keep within you…I am glad you have found a way to let it out for others to enjoy. Such grand plumage. Such flaming splendor.


There is another world
There is a better world
Well, there must be, there must be….

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September 18, 2019

Bridget is already a much better writer than I was at that age. I have proof. If you ever are like “What poems did Jeff write in elementary school?” She seems to be very bright and creative. I like the story.

She clearly got that from you. You say she’ll be better than you at writing, but you’re still a fantastic writer. Your entries always pull me in. I hope you both keep creating.

September 18, 2019

@heffay what poems did Jeff write in elementary school?

September 18, 2019

She is so creative! I want to borrow her I could use some of her fun stories in my life. Don’t worry I’ll send her back the first temper tantrum lol 😉

She comes by her writing skills honestly!

September 18, 2019

What a wonderful thing to be doing for her!

September 20, 2019

That’s amazing that she got your writer’s brain!! How wonderful. 🙂 I LOVE that you do this for her. Maybe I’ll do the same for my child, if I have one one day.

September 25, 2019

Having previously worked in the publishing industry, I can attest that Bridget’s story ideas are vastly more creative and enrapturing than what’s found in most of the fantastical kids’ book series that get churned out these days. I would certainly be inclined to read more about the complex, neverending struggle between the wizard Forest McMorris and the witch North McSister (lots of Irish folks in your area?), with Schulztberg hanging in the balance.

It would be quite a feat, indeed, for your daughter to surpass you as a writer — because even equaling your eloquence would be extraordinary! Though perhaps the best possibility of all would be for the two of you to become a mother-daughter, co-writing duo. You all would put Mary/Carol Higgins Clark to shame.

P.S. Beautiful song choice for this entry (a gentle lullaby from Moz!).