From the Archives – Writers: What Was Your First Story?

 

To celebrate the one year anniversary of my blog (March 13th), I’m publishing select posts throughout the year under the title “From the Archives” for those who may have missed them the first time around. Next up…

 

Once upon a time

The first story I remember creating came after my first nightmare, or rather, the first nightmare I remember. I’m not even sure how old I was, maybe 4 or 5? I must’ve fallen asleep while one of my parents read Goldilocks and the Three Bears to me because my nightmare was a twisted version of that fairytale.

Illustration by David Merrell
Illustration by David Merrell

Mama Bear and Papa Bear had captured my parents. They were restrained outside the bears’ home with thorn bushes. I looked on from a secret hiding place in the woods as they lit a fire underneath a giant black cauldron. Flames licked at the sides and steam rose from the center of the cauldron as my parents struggled to break free. That is where my nightmare ended.

I woke up in a panic. To a young child their parent is everything and both of mine were about to be boiled like lobsters. I calmed down once I realized I’d been dreaming but something tugged at me. I suppose this was the moment my internal storyteller was born.

What offense had my parents committed to deserve such treatment? Had Mama Bear and Papa Bear suspected my parents of eating the porridge, breaking the furniture, and destroying the neatly made beds? Or worse, was it something I had done? Where was Baby Bear? Had I done something to upset him? Were my parents paying the price for failing to discipline a naughty child? How could I save them?

I couldn’t recall the events in my dream that led to my parents being selected as dinner. All I knew was that my parents were in danger. I had to rescue them. I had to finish the story and it had to be brief; after all, my parents were about to become the main course for two ravenous bears.

Somehow I knew Baby Bear was the key. I searched and found him wandering in the woods alone. He was lost and scared. I gave him a cherished toy for comfort. It was a little crocheted doll that my grandmother had made for me. He seemed to understand the value it held and hugged me. We arrived at his home just as my parents were being lowered toward the boiling water.

Mama Bear and Papa Bear were overjoyed to see Baby Bear. After learning I had rescued him they decided I wasn’t a naughty child after all and released my parents. Porridge was warmed over the fire instead of my parents and we all sat down for a scrumptious meal. Mama Bear and Papa Bear swapped stories with my parents and after a while Baby Bear rubbed his eyes and yawned. Seeing that he was tired, I walked him upstairs and tucked him in bed. He fell asleep with my cherished doll held tightly to his chest. I was the heroine of the story and everyone lived happily ever after.

I have created hundreds of stories in my mind over the years. I don’t know why this one has stayed with me while others have faded. Maybe it’s because it was my first story. Maybe the simplicity of it makes it easy to remember. Maybe it was the thought of losing my parents. Who knows? I’ve discarded so many stories over the years because they were “too this” or “too that.” Maybe it’s because this one, at the time, felt…just right.

Do you remember your first story? I’d love to hear it.

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8 thoughts on “From the Archives – Writers: What Was Your First Story?”

  1. I think it was a small story involving a group of scientists looking for a new type of monkey and it ended up being like King Kong. Only the giant monkey was made out of jewels and they had to steal a heart-shaped one from its body to kill it. I remember there was a sacrifice of one character to get the jewel and destroy it. Then it ended with the survivor marrying a woman that wasn’t anywhere else in the story because I was 7 and was led to believe every story ended with getting a woman.

    1. Well, of course! Every good story ends with winning a woman’s heart! Ha! Ha! Very creative. You had symbolism too. The giant ape made of jewels. The quest to obtain the heart shaped one. Sounds like you might’ve been experiencing your first crush. 🙂

      1. Actually, I had recently watched King Kong and was into collecting rocks. The heart-shaped one was simply that ‘heart is what keeps you alive’. I didn’t learn about symbolism for a long time. 😀

        1. I wondered that too (that you had watched King Kong). That would be impressive if you had intentionally used symbolism in a story at that age. I was implying that you came by it naturally. Some people are born storytellers. 🙂

  2. I don’t remember my first story ever written – I remember the last. But I am intrigued by the use of your dream to create resolution. Dreams are wonderful for creating in writing. I use mine … maybe not immediately but I often go back to my dream journal for inspiration.
    Thanks Melissa.

  3. I’m pretty sure my first story involved a lot of craziness, and ended up with the revelation that it was all a dream. I was maybe five or six? At the time I thought I was being really brilliant … and then a few years later I discovered how overdone the “it was all a dream” thing has been done. Ah well!

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