Yes, there are no chickens in today’s photo! But why was this photo selected for “Family Photo Friday”?
Sometimes these “My Life With Gracie” stories may blur the lines between reality and imagination.
When it comes to writing genres, most of these stories could be classified as “magical realism.” This genre has a realistic setting and for the most part all seems normal except there are certain things which are “magical” but are treated as ordinary occurrences. (For example, I’ve never written anything like this: I could hardly believe it when Gracie spoke to me for the first time, and I was even more amazed that Gracie could dance ballet. If I wrote like that, these stories would not be the same at all. By treating things like this as plain everyday life, it may make it easier for readers to slip into Gracie’s world.)
It is important to mention this is not “magic” in the sense of witches and wizards casting spells. For me, it is the kind of magic found when a child believes teddy bears have genuine feelings and really do talk to them. I may never have outgrown my childhood imagination, and so perhaps this is why my stories write themselves as they do.
Magical realism has been described as the intersection of two worlds: the magical world and the realistic world. There are many story possibilities which happen within this intersection.
My hope is that readers will get caught up in the imaginary elements of these stories long enough to believe anything can happen. Chickens really do dance ballet and make drawings with pieces of chalk. Then the deeper meaning of the story can be revealed.
But getting back to this Family Photo Friday picture.
There are times when the imaginary story elements move into my reality in a most unsettling manner. This is what happened one morning just this week.
It was a little after 6 AM. I had just finished getting my chickens ready for their new day. The sun had not yet come up. It was still quite dark except for the back porch light and my flashlight.
As I went back in to get ready for work, a light flipped on next door. I heard a sharp and raspy sound like laughter.
“Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah!”
I stood at my back door, turned out the light, and looked to see what it might be. This was somewhat unnerving. Except for the guy who delivers the paper, I am the only person up and outside that early in the morning.
I studied the light that was on next door which had not been on when I went outside to do my morning chicken chores. Suddenly the light turned off. it was as if someone knew I was trying to see them.
Then I noticed the silence. The early morning birds had stopped their calls as had the fall crickets.
Immediately I thought of The Bottle Cap Lady, a character from the book I’ve been working on. Had she returned? I had written about her standing in the street at the end of our driveway laughing and yelling, “Ha! Ha! Ha!” One extra “Ha!” and a slightly different spelling, and The Bottle Cap Lady really had returned.
So there you have it. An imagined portion of my book had worked its way into my backyard reality in a most unsettling way.
This brief real-life event would work it’s way back into one of the chapters in the book I’ve been working on.
And I will share that chapter tomorrow! Then perhaps you will see how there seems to be a kind of dance between my real world and my imagined world.
Do you get the eerie feeling that anything could happen inside that house? As have written before…Right in my own backyard were more mysteries than I could find anywhere else.
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