The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter began as a series of letters for a sickly little boy. The classic Winnie the Pooh series began its long, enduring life as sketches AA Milne wrote to amuse his son, and Mary Poppins arrived on the world stage when PL Travers created her and the Banks family taken in hand by the no-nonsense nanny in response to her own traumatic childhood.
Dig a little into the history of a classic tale, whether it’s written for children or adults, and you’ll often find a fascinating back story that propelled it into existence. So many of the fictional worlds we love inhabiting began as something else: a series of letters, lighthearted vignettes that captured just the whisper of an idea, or a troubled family history that was magically transmuted into its opposite through the alchemy of writing.
As I ponder these transformations, I can’t help but wonder what inspired their creators to take their original musings, ramblings, and personal sorrows and turn them into something engaging and ultimately, universal. So often we have the germ of an idea, but we let it slip away unexplored and undeveloped. What persuades us to cling to these and breathe life into them and what makes us let go? Which part of our mind or heart decides? Or is it more a matter of time and intention: Can we make anything work if we dig a little hole, plant a seed, and then nourish it with creative fairy dust?
Right now, there may be a glimmer of something strumming your heartstrings lightly or tickling that fertile brain of yours. Whatever it is, why not take time to listen and play with it a little? Who knows where it might take you — and where its magic umbrella might fly you to? And write on!