About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Monday, December 06, 2010

U is for once UPON a time

"Once upon a time" is a stock phrase that has been used since around 1380, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, in the telling of stories and became widely accepted around 1600. Usually, these stories end with "and they lived happily ever after." The phrase is found mostly in fairy tales for younger children and is also often used in oral storytelling.
I admit that I've been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately, and after a particulary depressing weekend of dwelling on my relationship disasters, decided to write a little story. Unfortunately, the story has no title or ending so if anyone so wishes, please help me out here.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a house made of sand. She learned very early in life that her house could crumble at any time, so she decided to be a very quiet, very still little girl. Even though she was as quiet as a mouse, there were many times when sand either rained like needles upon skin or buried her up to her neck making her feel like choking. Sometimes, the sand was so heavy that she felt she could barely breathe.
One day, the little girl thought she would try to fix her house of sand by adding water, just like she would do at the beach to make a sand castle. By packing the wet sand together, she would make the house stand strong, and then everyone would say she was a very smart little girl. What she did not realize, though, was that the tide always came in and washed the sand castles away. So, the little girl continued to live in her house of sand, trying very hard to help keep the house from falling down by being very quiet and very still.
When she went to bed at night, the little girl would dream of castles and palaces and great stone and brick houses that she'd read about in storybooks. She determined that when she grew up, she would have a house just like one of those and her house would never fall down.
Finally, the time came when the little girl met her prince, married, and set off to build her house. Since they couldn't afford a castle or a palace, they decided to build a house made out of rocks. However, the little girl still worried that even the rocks might fall down and bury her even deeper than the house of sand. So she stayed very quiet and very still, trying to keep the rocks from falling down around her. Sometimes, a few would drop and cause the little girl's heart to pound very hard. Sometimes, a lot of rocks would tumble and the little girl thought she would faint. Suddenly one day, the entire house started to shake and rumble and roar and with one mighty thunderous explosion, the whole house crashed down around her.
Buried deep beneath the rubble, the little girl dug and clawed her way to the surface, finding that her prince was gone and she was all alone. But because she felt she was a very smart little girl, she thought she could figure out a way to keep her new house from falling down. She worked very hard and built a house of wood that seemed to stand the test of time. Finally, she was content and felt safe for the first time in her life.
But, she was very lonely.
One day, the little girl was happily strolling along when suddenly, she ran into a very handsome little boy. He wooed her, making her feel like the most beautiful princess in the world. He gave her pretty baubles and lovely bouquets of flowers. He cooked her sumptuous meals and played music enchanting to her ears. He convinced her to build a new house with him.
The little girl was excited about building a new house with her new prince. However, it didn't take long for her to recognize that the new house was a bit shaky. It seemed to be made of bricks, but in reality, they were simply giant grains of sand. Almost immediately, the house started to crumble and one day, a big clump of bricks fell completely off the side. The little girl tried to pile them back up using mortar to glue them together and packing them firmly against the rest of the house. But more and more bricks fell to the ground every time there was even a gentle breeze. Then one day, the wind roared and lightning struck and the entire house fell down around her. The little girl felt her heart breaking under the crush of all those bricks.
After digging her way to the surface again, the little girl went back to her house of wood to try to start over again. But she cried and cried because she was so disappointed and lonely. She couldn't sleep at night and when she finally did drift off, she would dream weird dreams. Sadness drifted into her soul until she felt like she was being sucked into quicksand. She tried to put her life together by thinking good thoughts and appreciating what she had, but she still had aches and pains and sometimes the grief made it hard to breathe...

Okay, now it's your turn to become a writer. Please help me with an ending and/or a title. I did write an ending, but it just seemed trite and I didn't like it. Maybe the story needs to remain unfinished right now...who knows?


nancygrayce said...

I love the story and I think there will be another chapter or 3. I also think they will write themselves at just the right time.

I think the little girl needs to realize her great worth and her wonderful abilities, those that are all her own.


Penelope Notes said...

What a brilliant allegory of what most people will surely relate to. I think this little girl needs to continue exercising her wonderful writing skills and remember what she already knew … that life, by its very nature, is built on shifting sands. As she rediscovers that security is an illusion, her disappointment becomes easier to swallow and the quicksand of sadness that engulfed her disappears. She soon realizes that she needs no walls to be content and that her gift is freedom. She also discovers that the bricks and mortar are her strengths within. In time she is able to build a joyful new life … one she could not have imagined.

photowannabe said...

Leslie, both of the previou comments have such merits.
I think your Little Girl has good house "bones" and that inner strength will ultimately give her a strong future.
Very unique allegory. I believe it needs a few more chapters before the ending too.

Sylvia K said...

So much merit indeed in what the other three have written and worth keeping near by to read and reread again. It is so easy to forget our own worth and see ourselves -- and possibly incorrectly through the actions of those we have given our love to. The pain isn't easy to live with, I can attest to that, but peace can and does come. I'm holding good thoughts for you.


Roger Owen Green said...

ultimately, there will have to be some sort of acceptance of the shifting sand and a joy that will come from the letting go,i imagine.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Reader Wil said...

I like a story with an open end. I sometimes told stories with an open end, when I was teaching, and have the children finish the story. It was wonderful!

Carver said...

I think you did a great job with the story. I don't think all stories need endings. I kind of like how you stopped. You are very creative and I think creating can be very healing.

Tumblewords: said...

It might be time to let this one age a bit and no doubt it will write the next lines when the time has arrived. I can surely relate to this one upon a time tale.

Hildred said...

A very sensitive story Leslie, but I think the plot will continue and probably with surprising twists and turns and acceptances. Sometimes the shifting sands contribute to our strength and endurance and your little girl will find a new and joyful future.

magiceye said...

and then the girl realised that building walls is futile and the best way is to make a home created by nature and live happily everafter.

RuneE said...

Not all stories have happy endings, but than not all stories have an ending. Let the readers decide for themselves and make your own ending.

penny said...

Beautifully written stories here, Leslie. Life is a journey with its ups and downs and a few U turns but in the end it is always worth the ride down the twisty roads of life.

be well, be happy
Pam i am :)

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

It is a sad story. It does seem unfinished (as you mentioned). But, I think it's important that you be the one to finish it or the relationship disasters will be unending! The ending should focus on what you want. It doesn't even have to address how you get what you want, Just what you want. Simple. Uncluttered.

Wanda said...

Well, it a very interesting and intriguing story, but I find it depressing, and long for the happy ending.

Perhaps she should move to the city build a steel and iron house, and forget the wood, rocks and sand.

I see an architect in her future.

Anonymous said...

The little girl needs to realize that focusing on the dream of a happy ending will not allow her to enjoy the present. There is no infallible house; everyone has a sand or rock or wooden house that will crack, crumble or fall to some degree at some time. It's the ability to get back up and learn from experience that matters. Remember the saying: "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called The Present."

Jo said...

The little girl discovered that tackling the issues she was afraid of was sort of like eating an elephant -- one bite at a time. She learned that the only way to do that was resolutely, day by day. And she became so strong, and so self-reliant and resilient that she built the perfect house, made of her newly-found self-confidence and strength. And she lived in her new, strong house and had her family all around her, and watched them grow and she became the pillar of her family. And she lived happily ever after.

The End ... of the beginning

Francisca said...

You have some wise blogger friends, Leslie... The little girl will come to realize that strength - and joy - comes from within, and that security is an illusion, and focusing on the haves, rather than the have-nots, is the source of true happines.