by Ronelle Antoinette
Yesterday, I sat with my three-year-old niece while she watched and sang along to “The Narwhal Song” for what felt like the hundredth time. (Some sick, demented person—or maybe a clever parent—posted a 10-hour-long loop of it on YouTube.) While she sang and head-bobbed and shuffled in her seat in time to the music, I kept an ear out for my sister to call from outside.
When I felt an insistent tap on my arm, I looked down into her earnest face and I could tell there was something on her mind. “I want to be one of these,” my niece announced, pointing to where the technicolor cartoon was dancing insanely across the screen of my phone. “With a horn. A green one.”
“I’ll see what I can do, love,” I told her, trying to figure out how the hell I was going to find this kid a green narwhal horn. Stupid video.
We went upstairs and dug around in her mom’s fabric box and THANK GOD there was some green ribbon. One piece of thick paper, ribbon, and a string later, I had created what—if you looked at it with only one eye and you were maybe a little drunk—could pass as a horn. My niece was patient enough to hold still for ten whole seconds while I tied her new ‘horn’ to her forehead.
Folks, this kid was THRILLED. It didn’t matter to her that we’d made it out of scraps and she didn’t mind that it kept slipping down over one of her eyes. She wasn’t even upset that I’d accidentally tied some of her hair in the knot. This little lady was a narwhal and nobody could tell her otherwise.
Sure, she got bored with it soon enough and when I got her horn back, it was a sad tangle of ribbon and paper. But the epiphany that came to me while watching her play remained; she decided what she wanted to be, and so she became. No, she didn’t literally become a narwhal, but in her toddler-imagination, she was the swimming ‘Jedi of the sea’ and it was the best thing ever.
Why do we, as adults and especially as new writers, not adopt the same mindset? We have the passion, the drive, probably even the story, but we get hung up on making it real. Whether it be doubt or fear or insecurity, we just can’t think of ourselves as writers.
But we should.
Sitting at my computer this morning, trying to figure out where to even start submitting for a freelancing gig, I felt the doubt creeping in. Then, I looked at my phone, and when I saw this I remembered: I want to be the narwhal, therefore I am!
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Errant Spark, in July of 2016. Dream. Come. True.
Ronelle can be found on Twitter @RonelleAntoinet, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ronelleantoinette, and at www.ronelleantoinette.com
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