Last summer my daughter decided to make a fairy garden. She painted, planted and decorated. She added fairies and a mailbox.
When the garden was ready for business, she informed neighbors and friends that there was a new fairy garden in town and that if they wrote letters to the fairies, the fairies would answer! What she didn’t share was that she would be answering the letters for the fairies. She planned to use special fairy handwriting and special fairy paper. Since she’s not a big fan of writing, I thought this a noble, but unsustainable goal.
Soon – sprinkle me with pixie dust – the letters started coming in! And, despite my initial doubts, all summer and fall my daughter tended her fairy mail with love. She opened each letter with excitement and gave loving thought to each one-of-a-kind response. And she never tired of secretly delivering them at dusk, which seemed delightfully fairy-like to both of us.
As summer faded into fall, I thought her fairy letter love would fade as well. Indeed, when winter set in and she packed up her garden and shelved it in the basement, I was certain her fairy letter writing days were history.
But then, last week, she and I spotted this: a bee sipping nectar from a crocus! And she turned to me and said, “I bet the fairies are back too!” She and I spent the rest of the afternoon working in the garden. While I raked dead leaves and tilled the soil, she built a new hill with glass pebble brook and got the fairy village up and running!
To her delight, the neighbors noticed! In fact, the very next day, a darling little girl and her grandmother stopped by the garden while were quietly doing schoolwork inside. And they left mail! And more mail! My daughter is thrilled. Fairy letter writing is in full swing once again!
And here’s my takeaway for parents of reluctant young writers. I’m convinced that the secret to making writing fun is to seize upon some instrinsic interest – whatever that may be – and celebrate it as an excuse to write. In our case, that excuse turned out to be fairies! What will your excuse be?
Happy Spring and Happy Writing all!