Where Do Stories Come From?
Sometimes an idea just pops into my head. That’s how the story Emmalene A Tiger’s Tale was launched. I was also thinking about a story I read when I was little, by Munro Leaf, about Ferdinand the bull.
In the story everyone looked at Ferdinand as a big strong bull and, given how he looked, thought he should be fierce. But Ferdinand just wanted to enjoy life and smell the flowers. That made me think about how we often make judgements about how we expect someone is supposed to act or be. In that way, Ferdinand was misunderstood and he became part of the inspiration for Emmalene.
I also wanted to write something about kids using their common sense to solve a problem that befuddled the adults. So I decided for my story, there would be two siblings, a tiger and some grownups. And after that, I just started to write and the story just poured out piece by piece.
I also wanted to tell this story from different points of view. So there’s Emmalene’s problem – she’s just misunderstood like Ferdinand. For example, the villagers are frightened when they hear her roar, but she’s just using her loud tiger voice to say “good morning.”
Another problem is that the villagers just assume that a tiger means trouble. And they scurry about trying to solve the “tiger problem” and get all tangled up in their assumptions.
But Abbie and Bobby see it differently. Abbie sees Emmalene as an over grown kitty cat, just like Snowball. They’re curious to find out if that’s true for Emmalene. If it is, then maybe she just wants to be friends. So they go to check it out.
It’s Important to be Curious
I’ve learned long ago that it’s important to be curious. When you find yourself in a situation or a conflict, it’s important to check it out and ask a question. Like, is this what you’re trying to tell me? Is this why you did that? Is this what you’re trying to get across? The answer may surprise you. It also might be different than what you expected.
So, I learned that, before I assume this or that be curious and ask a question.