Tag Archives: stories

Story River

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There’s a river flowing inside me,
Many water drops.
Each drop from somewhere different,
With unique stories to tell.

Some come from deep within me,
Deeper than a well,
Too deep for anyone but me
To go in there and delve.

In time, they’ll sprinkle out of me,
Ringing like a bell.

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Thoughts On Pixar’s “Inside Out”

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A few weeks ago, I saw Pixar’s latest movie, “Inside Out.” One of the first things I noticed this movie was that Joy, the main character, an emotion inside 11-year-old Riley’s brain, is fashioned after Disney’s depiction of Tinkerbelle. Happiness means fairies! For this very special reason, Joy is my favorite character, in this movie which is rare for me. In most movies, the main character is not my favorite. I usually like villains and other side characters best. After Joy, though, my second favorite is Disgust. I love how she talks like a Valley Girl!
The beginning was nice, and I liked most of the middle, too. I loved how dreams are depicted like movies in Riley’s brain, Goofball Island and all the silly things it’s had Riley do throughout her life, and the different kinds of memories that are stored in Riley’s mind. I really liked how there’s both a Memory Dump and a storage place for Longterm Memories. Memories come and memories go, but some of them last forever.
My absolute favorite part of the movie, though, was the end. I won’t give away the end to people who haven’t seen it, but let’s just say I feel that it proves several of my most important beliefs to be true: Sometimes happiness is lost, but it can always be found again, sadness is just as important as joy, and, best of all: Childhood fantasies come and go, but joy lives on. “Inside Out” is a wonderful, creative, original movie, that proves many timeless truths in brand new ways. I think all stories should strive to combine originality with timelessness with methods such as “Inside Out’s.”

Sprite

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One day I found a baby bird that had almost been caught by a cat. I knew about the food chain, but even so, I thought that cat was really mean! I was afraid the cat might scratch me for taking away her lunch, but I had the courage to pick the baby bird up and take her inside. I asked my mom if I could take care of her until she could fly, but she said I should call the wildlife center first. I did, and they told me to stay where I found the bird and see if her parents came looking for her. If they didn’t return in an hour, they said, then I should bring the bird to the center. I waited for the bird’s parents, but they never came back. When I got to the center, they needed to tend to the bird’s injuries, but said I could keep her until she learned to fly, just as long as I understood the type of care she would need.
After the people at the wildlife center nursed the bird back to health, I picked a name for her. I decided to call her Sprite. Thinking that was a great name, the people at the wildlife center gave her to me and told me what I would need to do to take care of her. One thing they said was that I should take her to the center and every day and encourage her to fly outdoors, just as her mother would if she were around. I promised I would do it, but, after taking Sprite home, I discovered part of me that didn’t want her to learn to fly!  Part of me wanted to keep her forever! There was also a part of me, though, that wanted her to fly more than anything.
On days when I wanted Sprite to fly, I took her out at the wildlife center and encouraged her just as the wildlife center staff had instructed me to do. On days when I wanted to keep her, though, I didn’t. The people at the wildlife center started to notice this, and one day when I came in wanting to teach Sprite how to fly, they asked me why they didn’t see me every day. I hung my head, not wanting to admit the real reason.  Finally, though, I took a deep breath and let it all spill out.
“I really want to tame her and keep her as a pet!” I exclaimed. “Can you please teach me how to do that?”
“Sweetheart, I know how much you love her,” said one woman who was a staff member. “But you shouldn’t disregard the fact that she’s a wild bird, not a pet. She needs to be free. She wouldn’t be happy if you kept her.”
I felt like crying. I tried to hold it back, but felt even worse when I heard what the woman said next.
“if she goes too long without being taught to fly, she said “she’ll never learn. If you won’t teach her to fly, you will need to bring her back here so we can do it. It’s your choice.” That did it. I was crying before I could stop myself.
“I can teach her how to fly!” I said between tears, even though I wasn’t sure it was true.
“We’ll give you one more chance,” said the woman. “If you don’t come in with her tomorrow afternoon, we will call you and ask to have her back the next day.” I nodded, but wasn’t sure what to say. I took Sprite home.
The next afternoon, and several afternoons after that, I wasted no time taking her to the wildlife center to learn to fly. After hearing that she might never learn to fly if I didn’t teach her, I think the side of me that wanted her to won out.
After being encouraged a few more times by me and the people at the wildlife center, Sprite was finally flying on her own. I had gotten my wish, and all of me was happy. I think the same was true of her.
After saying goodbye to Sprite at home, I took her to the wildlife center to be released. As soon as we let her out of her cage, she was off! I waved goodbye as she flew away. I don’t know how, but somehow I had faith that I would see her again.

Raccoons, Leaves, and Cacao Beans

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While we raked leaves, we pretended the big oaken tree in our yard shedding them was a cacao tree. The acorns it was also shedding? Well, those were cacao beans. The leaves being gathered up by our thin little rakes were magic leaves. When you wrapped the cacao beans in them, it filled the beans with magical powers, that would be given to anyone who ate them. We had to hurry and eat the cacao beans before a raccoon ate them.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Yeah, I’m getting a little old for these games. These were all Jenny’s idea. Especially the part about the raccoon. I love raccoons. I love all animals. But ever since Jenny got bitten by a rabid raccoon and had to go to the hospital, raccoons have had to be the villains in her games. Sometimes I’ve reminded her that raccoons can be nice, but Mom and Dad always tell me to let my sister use her imagination to get over her trauma. They say they let me do the same thing I was her age, but I don’t remember any trauma, nor do I remember having fantasies as elaborate or nonsensical as hers. If I did, I’m sure they were at least more coherent than hers often are.
I must say, though, the things she’s coming up right now are pretty cool. I wonder what kinds of magical powers these cacao beans will give us when we eat them? What kinds of powers would they give a raccoon? Would a raccoon be able to transform himself into a human if he ate these magic cacao beans? What would he do then? Would he still bite people if he had rabies? Maybe not. Maybe if the raccoon who bit Jenny turned into a human, she could talk to him and ask him not to bite her again. Maybe she could even take him to the hospital to get rabies shots, just like she got when she was there.
“Hey, Jenny,” I said. “We should find the raccoon that bit you.”
“Why?” asked Jenny, her eyes shining with fear.
“Don’t worry, he won’t bite you again,” I continued. “I won’t let him.”
“Then why?” Jenny asked again.
“So we can give him some of these magic cacao beans,” I answered, picking up a handful of acorns. Jenny looked at me again, even more fearfully this time.
“There will be plenty left for us,” I added. “And by giving the cacao beans to the raccoon, we can make sure he won’t bite you again. Jenny shook her head.
“No!” she whined. “A raccoon with magical powers could hurt me even more badly!”
“Maybe,” I said. “Or maybe, a raccoon with magical powers could turn himself into a human.” I went on to tell her my idea of taking him to the hospital to get rabies shots and then having him promise not to bite her again. Jenny’s eyes brightened, but then she looked worried again.
“Come on,” I said. “What are you afraid will happen if we gave him magic cacao beans?” Jenny thought for a minute.
“He might cast a horrible spell to give more people rabies,” she said. “Then we’d all start biting each other and getting sick!”
“Why would he do that?” I asked.
“Don’t raccoons want the people they bite to get sick?”
“No,” I said. “That raccoon was just scared. He didn’t know he had rabies, and he didn’t mean to give it to you.”
“Promise?” asked Jenny.
“Promise,” I said.
“Okay!” said Jenny. “Let’s save some of these magical chocolate beans for the raccoon. But we have to wrap them in leaves first!”
“Okay,” I said. “But they’re called cacao beans,” I reminded her for what seemed like the twentieth time.
“Right,” said Jenny. We wrapped each acorn we had collected in a magical leaf before putting all the raked leaves in the compost. Then we pretended to eat our magical cacao beans. It gave Jenny the power to fly, but I wasn’t sure what magical power it would give me. I had to think about that.
“Stay open-minded,” said our mother. “That’s one of the things imagination is best for. Maybe something will come to you.”
“Yes,” said our father. “Maybe even in a dream.”
I didn’t have any dreams that night, but the next morning, Jenny came down in her pajamas full of smiles.
“Guess what?” she asked, grinning from ear to ear. “Last night, I told the raccoon not to bite me again. Then I took him to the hospital to get rabies shots, so he would never make anyone else sick!”
“That’s wonderful, Jenny!” said Mom. “Did you have any dreams last night, Jeffrey?” I shook my head, feeling too grown up to get into this. Mom and dad looked at each other.
“Just remember, Jeff, you’re never to old to be creative,” said Dad.
“That’s right,” said Mom. “Open-mindedness comes from imagination, and so does creativity. Both are good for grown-ups as well as children.”
I thought about what my parents and little sister had said. Then I remembered how much fun Jenny and I had with the cacao beans and magical leaves. I’m old enough to know it was just a game. But I still keep waiting to dream about the magical power I get from those cacao beans.

Special Places

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All places have their memories,
Places now and those of long ago.
In each place are glimpses of the past,
Some happy, and some woe.

Memories grow stronger
As towns, homes, and forests grow old,
So any place full of memories
Must remain to have and hold.

Old places have their stories
That can again and again be told,
And old stories spawn new stories,
Some silver, and some gold.

Autistic Story #2: Static Stories

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Once upon a time, there was a snake. She was a nice snake, but everyone, except for one girl, thought she was dangerous. The snake and the girl were best friends, but one day someone found the snake and killed her. This made the girl very sad, and so when she made a video, she put a hissing sound at the end to remember the snake.

This was the first of many stories I made up that made something less scary for me.  This was important, because as an autistic child, I got scared very easily, especially by sudden sounds.  As I know now, the hissing sound at the end of my favorite video was actually caused by static, but my parents could not find a way to explain it to me that made it less scary. That was why I took matters into my own hands and told the story of the snake.

There was another instance where I made up a story that also involved static. This time, it was static on one of my dad’s audio cassette tapes, which made a thumping noise before the music started. I asked my mom to explain that static to me, but as before, she couldn’t explain it in a way that made it less scary. So once again I made up my own story to explain it. I had recently received a snow globe from my grandparents for Christmas. I loved that snow globe, but sometimes I dropped it and worried it would break. It was after dropping my snow globe many times that I decided the static thumping was a recording of my snow globe falling. When I told my mom this, she helped me make up a story:

Once there was a girl named Doniela. Her daddy was a musician, which means when he went to work, he played music and recorded it on tapes. One day as he wrote a new song, he listened for the right drum beat to put in it. No matter what he banged on or clapped together, it wouldn’t make the right sound. Then, suddenly, Doniela dropped her snow globe! Both she and her daddy screamed, but for different reasons. Doniela came to her daddy crying, “Oh, Daddy, did it break? Did it break?” Her daddy, however, said, “I just heard the perfect drumbeat for my new song!” He asked to borrow her snow globe, but she was worried it really would break this time.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I will wrap it up in rubber and drop it very softly.” So she let him, and he wrote a beautiful song with the sound of the falling snow globe. When it was finished, he gave Doniela back her beloved snow globe, which was good as new. He also brought his new tape home and played it for Doniela and her mommy. Doniela enjoyed the tape until suddenly, she heard a loud thump! This startled her, and she ran crying to her daddy.

“Don’t worry, Doniela!” he said. “It’s just your beautiful snow globe.” This made Doniela and me feel much better.