This is something I haven’t done in a long time. I hope you enjoy.
Chatty: Okay Rory (8 y.o daughter), it’s my turn to tuck you in and tell you a story.
Rory: I thought it was mom’s turn. I don’t want a story then.
(Pause) You know that hurts me when you say that. Please go wash your teeth and get in your PJs please.
I really was hurt. I know I have a harder time connecting with Rory than I do with my son Nico. She’s more artistic than me and has this fiery temperament that will make her a proud, headstong woman too soon for my weak father’s heart. Thus, I pushed my feelings aside and prepared to insist as the time I spend with her is too short as it is. But Rory blindsided me, as she came out the bathroom, she hugged me and said:
I want a story dad, one you invent.
She doesn’t usually like them so much and has never before asked for one. I was more than happy to oblige.
And yeah, I saw what she did there, it’s a great skill to have.
Chatty: Okay, do you want one where I ask you questions or one that I make on the spot?
Hmmm, I’m not sure. I just want a story.
All right then, lets see… Usually a story starts in a world. There are many kinds of worlds.
Like horror right? With monsters and skeletons…
Rory has a certain macabre streak, she’ll make a great teenaged Wednesday Addams someday. Then again she gets easily scared by her own ideas. See this story from a few years ago.
Chatty: Yes, there’s also fantasy worlds with magicians, dragons and goblins. There’s adventure ones, where stories happen to people like you and me.
Oh and there’s Back to the Future stories too daddy, right?
Yes! But those are hard to tell because I always get everything mixed up!
And then there’s stories set in space and the future. So which one do you want?
I want a Fantasy one!
Well a fantasy story always starts with a hero, or maybe in your case a heroine.
Okay, then we should name her don’t you think?
(Rory thinks for a second) Hmmm, how about May-Gee?
No, MAY-Gee, she’s a magician.
Okay and how old is she? Is she a child, a teenager or an adult magician?
She’s between a teenager and an adult.
Oh okay, like 14-18 or something like that right?
Yes something like that.
Note to parents playing RPGs with kids. At a certain age, kids don’t want to play kids anymore, they want to play teenagers and young adult. They want to have an impact in the life around them and playing what they perceived as “free people” is where their motivations sit. So that’s why I was happy to go with it.
Okay so Mah-Gee…
MAY-GEE daddy. May… Like the month of May.
Oh right right, sorry. Okay, so since she’s an older teenager, she should be in a school for girl magicians (French: Magiciennes)
No daddy, she goes to a school for magicians, boys and girls!
Rory has a very strong inclusive streak in her. Something we try very hard to foster.
Done! She goes to this magicians’ school and… lessee. Oh I know! She’s a bit stressed because she has this big test coming okay?
Okay. I want this story to be a story about a magic school!
Okay, let’s do this! So MAY-Gee (emphasis to mark my effort to get name right) is really worried today because she has this test with professor Baladur today.
Ballet-dur? She takes ballet lessons?
Why not, you could make magic with dance moves, want me to show you?
(Laughing) Don’t be silly daddy…
Of course not. His name is BALA-dur and he teaches (borrowing from Rory’s idea) magical gestures!
Oh young lady, you should know that magical gestures are capital to making proper magic spells. Imagine if you wanted to make a fireball to defend against a Troll and you…
…Made fireworks! (Giggling)
Exactly! Now wouldn’t that be terrible?
I like this story daddy.
My heart melted like only a father’s can.
Up next: May-Gee meets “the boy” and discovers the secret of linked magic.