Each day millions of people dream. Thousands more dream of writing. Less than that become obsessed with the dream and begin to write. Even less still finish the book. A fraction of a fraction sign a contract and a fraction of a fraction of that are successful. One must keep the proper prospective or risk failing before she gives herself a chance. The journey to publication is often long and hard. You better love it, because that may be the only thing you get out of it. Some of us make it and some of us don’t. But hopefully we all learn a little something about ourselves and more importantly about God along the way.
I have been so very blessed with a rather short and easy road filled with wonderful adventure, learning and friends. God has made my burden light and my heart full.
Today, I would like to share a short (kind of long) story with you about part of my journey to this moment. I’ll try not to cry, because it truly is a miracle that this 11th grade drop-out could write a book, let alone debut her novel in March of next year. It will fall just short of 5 years since my dream began when I Am Ocilla releases with Splashdown Books.
I’m crying. Sorry I wasn’t strong enough. Are you ready for the good times? Here we go….
In a land not too far away and a time not too long ago there lived a girl named Crazy-Hair. Her mother originally named her something else, but after years of fighting the child’s unruly mane with enough spit to shower a hippo, the name stuck.
Time passed and Crazy-Hair grew into a young lady. Her hair grew also, and with each year’s turn the waves became a little crazier. She tried braiding it, but the strands protested. She tried cutting it, but the locks revolted and grew back twice as long. Bows, barrettes, and pins were all swallowed upon contact, never to be seen again. Finally, Crazy-Hair gave up the fight to tame it. It wasn’t long after when something very odd happened.
Each night, she sang for an hour as she brushed her hair under the moonlight. Brushing made the hair happy and happy hair behaved. Her hair was known to catch things floating by—lint, moths, flies, dinner. But this night it caught something new.
It was only a small part of a dream, but it made her hair crackle, kink and dance.
The next night her hair caught a bigger piece of the dream, and then another and another. More came each night until Crazy-Hair could barely walk under the weight. She tried to brush the dream away, but it stuck right close to her scalp, digging into the follicles.
Crazy-Hair slumped heavy-headed at her desk and cried. She braced her noggin with one hand and wrote her mother a letter with the other. She simply had to share the dream that weighed so heavily upon her. The dream dripped from her hair and clung to the paper. By the time Crazy-Hair finished, her head felt lighter.
It came to pass that Crazy-Hair wrote down parts of her dream each night. Soon she had a complete volume of captured dream bits, but what would she do with it? She put it in a safe spot and began a new volume, this one a little grander than the last.
The next dream lodged down close to her scalp and refused to budge. Instead of weighing her down, it lifted her to her toes, almost off of the ground. This dream was larger and louder than the others. Her hair wanted this dream to live. Like all the things her hair wanted, it would not be denied. Crazy-Hair tried, even attaching rocks to her feet to keep from lifting off the ground.
“Why do you have rocks on your feet, child?” Crazy-Hair’s mother asked one day.
“Because my hair wants me and my book of dreams to fly.”
“It wouldn’t have asked if you weren’t able.”
“But I’m afraid of heights and don’t know how to fly.”
“Then you must find the four Wise-Word-Birds that live at the edges of the world. They will teach you and your dreams to fly.”
Crazy-Hair opened her mouth to protest, but the wind stirred and several strands gagged her. The rest lifted into the air and flapped like wings. She rose inches from the ground, despite the heavy rocks, before the wind stopped and she settled to earth.
Crazy Hair set out with her heavy book of dreams the very next day. She journeyed north to the Land of Canadia, home of the first Wise-Word-Bird. After many months of walking, she found Thinky-Doo-Catbert tucked away in the attic of an old library. The bird looked very much like an owl but had whiskers and eyes just like a cat.
“Oh, can you help me, please?” Crazy-Hair asked.
Thinky-Doo-Catbert’s chair scooted away from a worn table stacked high with books. “Bring it here. Let me see what you have.”
Crazy-Hair placed her dreams onto the table and watched as wings flipped through the pages.
“A good dream, but this will never fly, Crazy-Hair. It is much too heavy.” Thinky-Doo-Catbert’s whiskers twitched with a smile. “But you have spunk, and I like spunk.”
Before Crazy-Hair could blink, forty pages flew from her book of dreams, out the window of the library and away with the wind.
“Why did you do that?”
“Those are someone else’s dreams. They do not belong here.”
Crazy-Hair spent weeks learning in the attic of the library. When she had learned all she could, she prepared to leave. Thinky-Doo-Catbert held up a graceful wing.
“You will need this where you are going.” She plucked one fine feather from her tail and placed it in Crazy-Hair’s crown.
“What can I do with one feather?”
Thinky-Doo-Catbert blinked and laughed. “If you make it to end of this journey, you’ll see.”
Crazy Hair traveled south for many weeks before turning east. The second Wise-Word-Bird was rumored to live in the Land of Floridia. There she found Chickadee-Chicky perched over a Little Book of Magic. A dark swoop of feathers capped her head and five sets of silver hoops pierced her wings. The bird mumbled about stupid closed doors.
“Pardon me, Chicky.”
Green eyes turned and squinted. “No one calls me Chicky. Who do you think you are?”
Crazy-Hair took a step back. “I’m…um…um…”
The bird circled Crazy-Hair a few times before landing in front of her. “I know who you are. I’ve had my ear to the wind, and the wind calls your name, Crazy-Hair. What do you want from me?”
“My hair insists that my dreams and I must fly. Can you help me?”
Chickadee-Chicky laughed. “Let me see what you have.”
Again, Crazy-Hair relinquished her book of dreams to a stranger. She chewed her lip as silver hoops clanked through the pages. Every few minutes, Chickadee-Chicky pulled a page from its binds and let it float away with the wind. When the bird finished, she smiled and pulled a feather from her tail.
“You may call me Chicky,” she said as she placed the feather in Crazy-Hair’s crown.
“Will I see you again?”
“I should think so. I’m going with you.”
“Yes, you are incorrigible, but will need my help when it’s time to make the final leap.”
Crazy-Hair gulped. Her hair crinkled and danced higher, lifting her to hover beside Chickadee-Chicky.
They traveled south in search of the third Wise-Word-Bird. Chickadee-Chicky sometimes left Crazy-Hair, but always came back. After a few weeks they found Turtle-Dove-Turtle in the Land of Peka-Toe, buried face first in a bucket of ice cream. Turtle-Dove-Turtle looked just like a turtle except she had wings and a tail made of silky, white feathers, a crown of buttercups on her head and black-rimmed glasses perched on her large snout.
Crazy-Hair reached out in greeting, brushing the ice cream.
“Mine! It’s all mine, and you’d do best to remember it. I can’t stop the snap in me.”
Crazy-Hair checked that all her fingers were intact. “I wasn’t trying…”
“Save it. I’m very busy and have no time for foolishness. Is there a reason you’ve disturbed my dinner?” Turtle-Dove-Turtle licked a drip of cream from her chin.
“My hair wants me and my dreams to fly. Can you help me?”
The bird leaned forward and a chocolate-drop rolled out of her shell. She twisted her long neck around and slurped it into her mouth. “Mmm. Let me see. If I don’t like it, I won’t help you, Crazy-Hair.”
“You know me?” Crazy-Hair placed her book of dreams before Turtle-Dove-Turtle.
“That’s not important. Go make me a cake while I look this over.”
Crazy-Hair left to make a cake. She returned to find Turtle-Dove-Turtle crying fat tears into her ice cream.
“What’s wrong?” Crazy-Hair set the cake down before the bird and put her arm over the shell.
Turtle-Dove-Turtle plucked a feather from her tail and placed it into Crazy-Hair’s crown, before returning the book of dreams. “You are a Vaulter. I’d forgotten they exist. I use to watch them leap when I was little more than an egg. Vaulters almost always fly. They fall a lot, too, so it’s a good thing you have that hair for padding. You need to remove the rocks from your feet, though.”
Crazy-Hair felt her hair shift in the twirling wind as she untied the weights from her feet. Her body lifted and hovered above Turtle-Dove-Turtle and Chickadee-Chicky. Her stomach twisted, but it wasn’t the same as before. She didn’t feel sick any longer. Excitement flowed through her and snapped with a static pop. Only one Wise-Word-Bird left, but she was the queen.
The queen lived at the farthest western reaches of the kingdom of New-Z-Land. Crazy-Hair asked where old Z-Land had gone, but only received rolled eyes as a response. Turtle-Dove-Turtle didn’t want to come, but Crazy-Hair bribed her with cheesecake. The trio traveled over a vast ocean, with Crazy-Hair carried by her new friends.
When they touched solid ground once more, they searched the island kingdom for the fourth Wise-Word-Bird. At the far edge, on top of a high cliff, rose a tower castle.
“We can’t do this part for you, Crazy-Hair. We’re too tired.” Chickadee-Chicky flopped down into the sand.
Turtle-Dove-Turtle fell down also. “We’ll just rest here a bit and meet you at the top. Go on. You’re a Vaulter. Take a running start.”
Crazy-Hair’s tresses reached as high as they ever had when she ran full speed and leaped to the first jagged ledge. The strands folded around her as she landed. She rolled a ways, safe in her cushion of hair, before gaining her feet. So it went until she reached the top.
As she came to her feet, she spotted three Wise-Word-Birds disappearing through a doorway into a castle unlike any she had ever seen. Tall as twenty men stacked, the shiny white walls felt smooth under her fingers. Windows bubbled out like domes and metal latches and buttons glinted in the sun’s light.
Crazy-Hair’s hair whistled as the wind threatened to push her back over the edge. She struggled against the gusts and entered the same door Thinky-Doo-Catbert, Chickadee-Chicky and Turtle-Dove-Turtle entered moments before. Inside, the walls gleamed ebony and swirls of starlight and planetary alignment revealed a path leading upward. A grand archway waited at the top. Voices floated down to her.
Crazy-Hair gripped her book of dreams in white-knuckled fingers as her hair picked her up and propelled her forward. She slowed as she entered a room in which the farthest wall bulged outward in a clear dome. Five chairs faced the bubble, all occupied except the one in the center. It had a spring under it.
“Come in, Crazy-Hair. I’ve been expecting you.”
The voice was odd, but Crazy-Hair floated forward, passed her seated friends and stopped at the bubble wall. Her hair dropped her and she turned to meet Queen-Kiwi.
Crazy-Hair gaped at the odd little bird with the long beak.
“Hand over your dreams and have a seat. This may take a while.”
Crazy-Hair obeyed. As soon as she sat, her chair moved forward, close to the clear bubble wall. The ocean filled her eyes and whispered squawking filled her ears. Her hair danced as she waited. After what seemed a lifetime, her chair turned to face the four Wise-Word-Birds.
Queen-Kiwi rose from her seat and flew around Crazy-Hair by way of a jet-pack strapped to her back. The bird stopped and stared straight into her eyes. “You have a “comma” problem. Can you fix it?”
“I’m told your hair wants you and your dreams to fly. That’s good, but I must ask you, do you want to fly with your dreams?”
No one had ever asked her this. Crazy-Hair ignored her loud hair and searched deep inside herself. The thought of soaring so high frightened her, but it also made her feel free. Crazy-Hair swallowed her nerves.
“Yes, I would like to fly, please.”
The four Wise-Word-Birds gathered close and Queen-Kiwi plucked a feather from her tail, placing it in Crazy-Hair’s crown.
“This chair will start your journey, but you will have to shake your tail-feathers and flap your hair-wings if you want to fly,” Queen-Kiwi said.
All four birds flapped their wings. Crazy-Hair felt the spring under her coil. Soon the wings were a blur of feathers and her chair ratcheted down until it could go no further.
All four birds called out, “Fly, Crazy-Hair, fly!”
Crazy-Hair flailed as she catapulted up, up, up. The top of the room hurtled at her, so solid and deadly. Crazy-Hair screamed. At the last second, the top opened and fresh air smacked her face. Her hair swirled in delight as the wind whipped it back.
Crazy-Hair opened her eyes when her ascent slowed and the whole world spread beneath her. Pages from her book of dreams scattered to the four corners as she started to fall.
The instructions of Queen-Kiwi returned to the center of her thoughts. Crazy-Hair shook her tail feathers with everything she had. Her hair wrapped around her body and sank into her skin. Soft brown feathers sprouted wherever her hair touched. Crazy-Hair was no longer a girl. Girls can’t fly, but Wise-Word-Birds can soar.
There are over five months left until the release of my novel. That’s not very long. Be on the lookout for exciting things.
Peace, love and God’s will.