I used to tell the kids stories before bed. Anna, in particular, used to love them. I’d start at point A and move to point B using a rambling plot that never made much sense until the story ended. But I never started the story with a plot in mind. I’d start with one character. Then I’d just build from there on the fly, speaking the words as my brain supplied them. My only restriction for a story would be that it couldn’t start with some starry-eyed damsel trying to get with some dude as her sole purpose in life because, nuh uh. Life’s got more to offer than that.
JT started losing patience with my absurd stories years ago. He’s pretty grounded, and I’m quite the opposite. He’s still able to summon an appreciation for the ridiculous, especially when he is the ringleader, and, though his humor doesn’t trend anywhere near as dark as Anna’s and mine, he shows potential. I’m always glad to see that he’s kept some of his appreciation for the ridiculous, because I know embracing absurdity and allowing my imagination to run wild has served me well over the years. It’s helped me get over some internal struggles, and it’s a key component of my ability to troubleshoot obstacles that block my path personally and professionally. It sounds like I’m making excuses for being flighty, right? But retaining the ability to consider that anything is possible, regardless of how absurd it might sound on the surface, is helpful in more situations than you might think. Relax. I’m not suggesting that unicorns are really a thing that exist in this world. Although they did show up in Anna’s story last night. And I said that the people who don’t believe in them were drinkers of lemonade-flavored Kool-Aid as children. It made sense within the context of the story. Ask Anna.
As I alluded to above, the stories have started again. Anna asked me for a story night before last. Greenie, the caterpillar, was the protagonist. It was such a rousing success, that I told her another one at her behest last night. It was about unicorns. Did you know that they pee on humans? And that they eat brussels sprout leaves? No. Not brussels sprouts. Brussels sprout leaves. It’s a very important distinction. If you give them a whole brussels sprout, they will shoot you the evil eye, and they will load up the brussels sprout in their butt and shoot it out at you. It will hurt. Plus, it’s no fun to be hit with a brussels sprout that’s covered in unicorn poo which is red with sparkly, shiny [Ed. Note: Redundant. Dumbass. Love, You] flecks in it. Trust me on this.
And now that you’re kind of horrified that poo was a feature of the unicorn story, I’ll get to my point. There is this thing called Rory’s Story Cubes that you really need to get if you want to compose some kick-ass stories. Check it out.
So, here’s the thing. I could tell you the story that I’d compose from this, but I’ll let you in on a secret. When the alien, the shadow (or is it a MONSTER?), and the sheep show up, the story invariably goes very, very dark. Why is the sheep involved in the darkness? I have no idea. Somehow the sheep always ends up in a river because the alien is chasing it with a giant probe. And if I’m telling the story to Anna, I’m trying to avoid telling her what aliens do with the probe. It’s all very stressful. Look. My brain’s in charge. I just voice her content. So, make up your own story. Have fun with it. This game rocks, and I haven’t even tried it with alcohol. Please report back if you do.