Weaving Tales with Childhood Memories
by Melissa Ann Goodwin
I know that my childhood memories strongly influence my writing, but it took a class of third graders to show me just how much.
Last year, North Andover teacher Cyndi Desmond read my book, The Christmas Village, to her class. Afterward, every child in the class wrote me a letter, telling me what they liked about the book and asking great questions about characters and setting and plot. The class invited me to meet with them in the spring, and I jumped at the opportunity.
As I prepared for this classroom visit, I began to realize just how significantly my own childhood memories had factored into the writing of this book.
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Christmas Eve, 1953
by Marlene Bell
Jill bounced on her bed, her small body buoyant with anticipation, its electricity permeating the little room. She was nearly always good, but why had she been so mean to Kevie last summer?
All day, Jill had anticipated Santa's annual trip from the North Pole with increasing anxiety, as her conscience brought forgotten crimes into focus. She now thought of the times during the year she had done something she shouldn't have. She thought of those secret scribes who documented bad behavior.
Elves? No not them. They like mischief, if it isn't too bad. They just run around playing their music pipes and making toys. Guardian angels? Yes, them. They write everything down too, in case you forget.
Why did I bite Kevie and say he bit me first? Lies. Sins. Everyone will know I did something so Santa stayed away.
When her parents came into her room to kiss her goodnight, she quickly vanished under the covers with her eyes closed. After they left her bedroom and closed the door Jill tried to sleep but her head was filled with the breathless anticipation of Christmas.
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