When I was a kid, I loved making up stories. Most of them weren’t particularly polished or original: many didn’t even have clear plots or any kind of conclusion. Of course, this wasn’t anything special. Almost all children are natural storytellers (that is, when they aren’t sitting in front of a video game or TV show that tells the story for them). To watch a group of kindergarteners play together is to witness an act of collaborative, free-form narrative creation.
One of the many joys of parenthood is getting to see this in action. As a grownup, most of the narratives I engage with are relatively formal, prolonged, structured things. But being a father has helped bring me back to that childhood looseness and spontaneity. So at my daughter’s urging, I’ve started inventing ad-hoc stories again. They started out as our own private oral tradition: impromptu compositions to fill time while waiting for a haircut, during a long car drive.
Since then, though, I’ve decided to write down a few of our stories (the most coherent ones, and the ones I remember). These won’t be exercises in polished writing — they’ll be written the same way they were invented, as quickly as possible without any revision or planning. But that’s part of the point, and the pleasure, of these little anecdotes. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading them at least half as much as I enjoy making them up.