All I Want, In My Whole Entire Life Is A Whale Best Friend.


My son, from time to time, has requested a whale best friend. He’s been wanting this since he was two years old. Indeed, it was one of his first requests.

A whale best friend, he says.

Who talks.

And flies.

And does magic.

Also, when pressed, he would like this magic, flying, talking whale best friend to also go in space. “Because,” Leo assured me, “everything is better in space.”

Alrighty then.

There are things, in parenting, in life, that we simply cannot provide. I cannot give my son a best friend – whale or human, magic or not, talkative or taciturn, on earth or in space. These are things that he must find on his own.

What’s funny is that I wanted a whale best friend as well, when I was his age. Though not in space. Which makes me wonder: is the random oddity of my imagination hereditary? Or am I contagious? And if I’m contagious, is the fact that I put my odd little imaginary constructions into books and disseminate them like germs upon an unsuspecting public (and children! I send them to children! Will no one THINK of the children) constitute a health risk?

Are the writers of stories all secretly imaginary bioterrorists?

Perhaps we are. I’ve already blogged about my callous disregard for my role as Corruptor of Youth, and I meant what I said. But perhaps my role in the world is more nefarious than I earlier admitted to. Perhaps I am, even now, at work at something so insidious that it defies description.

I am writing a story.

Two of them, right now.

And copyediting another.

The two I’m writing may never be read by anyone other than myself. I may yet contain this contagion. We’ll see. I haven’t decided yet.

But VIOLET is a done deal. I will release it into the world later this year. In fact, I’ve already infected my kids, who have gone on to infect the kids in their classes with their games. Just yesterday, Leo was playing a game that involved a one-eyed dragon. “It has a foul temper,” he told his friends.

You see? It’s spreading already.

Stories, I think are organisms. They viruses – injecting themselves into the cellular framework of our imaginations, replicating themselves, making themselves new again and again and again.

My stories were told to my children before they were ever written down. My children turned them into games, and involved other children. And thus the story replicates.

I have not, at least to my knowledge, written a story about a whale best friend. Not one that flies. Not one that talks. Not one that does magic. Not yet.

Perhaps I should.

Or, perhaps I should wait until Leo is older. Perhaps it is his story. And perhaps, if he is lucky, it will infect the world.

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