My baby sister graduated from college this past weekend. I'm incredibly proud of her, and I'm excited for her to put her stamp on the world -- but at the same time, I'm a little sad. I can't help but remember how carefree life was when we were both kids: when we could make music and write stories without having to worry what other people thought of them, or whether we'd be able to pay our rent or whether we were doing something that would sustain us financially and spiritually. We just did it because it was fun. Because we wanted to.
The crazy thing about life is you're always moving forward. There's no going back to being a kid (unless you're Benjamin Button), and there's even no going back to yesterday. More and more, as a children's writer, I've been trying to reflect on my time as a kid and a teen, because I think there's a certain joy that kids have that is often lost when they grow up. Perhaps joy isn't the right word; perhaps it's wonder.
For some reason, I remember a good friend's high school graduation more than my own (perhaps because I was singing in the choir and was last-minute memorizing all the words to our piece), but the graduation performer was a girl who sang Lee Ann Womack's song, "I Hope You Dance." There's a line in it that I haven't been able to forget: "I hope you never lose your sense of wonder." It just so happens to be the first line, so maybe that's why I remember it so, but I thought about it a lot during my sister's graduation.
Even though I tend to write fantasy, which often has magic and plenty of fantastical elements, there is wonder in the smallest thing in the most ordinary world. From the choked-up feeling I got in my throat, when I saw my sister in her graduation cap and gown, to how small I felt against the the lakes I hiked above in Seattle. When I was a kid, I felt this sense of wonder everyday. Because everyday, I felt I was learning something...and becoming more acquainted with this earth I've been privileged to live in. As an adult, I forget how wonderful this can feel.
So as writers, and especially as human beings, I urge you all to find some wonder in the world today. Even in the most mundane of things -- appreciate it, and think of how many infinite things came to be to create that special moment where you came to be where you are.
My sister's cap reads: "do beautiful things with your beautiful life"