For my eighth birthday my mother decided to craft a pinata. Weeks of secretive preparation went into this endeavor while I peeked around corners, trying to get a glimpse of the item. The night before my big day I could stand the suspense no longer. I tiptoed downstairs just as the finishing touches were added to the candy-filled centerpiece.
As I neared the table, I noted its shape, a huge sphere. Was it globe? Ah, how dear, mother giving her youngest daughter the world. But no, it couldn’t be. For the thing had hair.
Hair, you say?
Yes, hair. Braided hair, in fact. Made out of yarn. For you see, the pinata before me was a gigantic likeness of my young head, hair parted down the middle, enthusiastic grin, and the like.
The next day guests arrived for the party with enthusiasm. After presents were opened, and the customary Carvel ice cream cake was consumed, bats were distributed. At which point all the children, myself included, smacked my paper maché head senseless until candy tumbled to the grass below.
I am certain this was a seminal moment in my writing career. For I can think of no better analogy for the writing process. The muses arrive with joyous song and garlands, of course. (No self-respecting muse shows up without a garland). “Come play with us,” they giggle, “ideas are sure to follow.” They lure me towards the warm glow of my computer screen. “Behold! We have given you the gift of language.” A three-part harmony swells and then… The cherubic beasts crack my skull open with sledgehammers so that all the luscious treats trapped inside may tumble to my keyboard below.
I don’t know about you, but my muses have a fairly twisted sense of humor.
So come on, out with it. Tell me some tidbit from your ridiculous childhood that’s made you the person you are today. I’m all ears.