A sentence that changes the wind
Tristan, our workshop narrator, was reading aloud from a human book called Anne of Avonlea. I was paying close attention to what was happening to Anne, the main character, and all of the other characters. It was Chapter 19, to be precise. And then Tristan read this sentence,
“In the forenoon Anne and Diana rowed the delighted twins down the pond to the sandshore to pick “sweet grass” and paddle in the surf, over which the wind was harping an old lyric learned when the world was young.”
Tristan kept reading, of course, but I could not keep listening. I was repeating the beautiful string of words, “… the wind was harping an old lyric learned when the world was young.”
The words sounded so lovely—and true—even though I wasn’t sure that I completely understood them.
I began to examine small sections. Wind is old, and it is lyrical when you think about it. Maybe the lyrics of the wind’s songs were written a long, long time ago.
I thought about this sentence for days.
I talked it over with Valkiri the illustrator elf. We both could see a kind, windy face. The sentence made both of us think of other stories we might create in which the wind could be a character. The sentence made us think that we would never see or describe the wind in the same way again! We felt eager for the next windy day, so that we could listen to the wind with more curiosity and attention.
New idea: When a sentence takes hold of you, read it over. Think it over.
And, when you read, do so slowly enough and carefully enough to notice sentences that might forever change how you look at something.
(For the illustrators, have a look at how simple Valkiri’s first sketch was. Her first ideas are drawn without worry about anything being exact or perfect.)