I was nine years old and back then an only child. That didn’t bother me though. As a true introvert I had no problems spending time alone — just me and my imagination. Writing little stories. Making horrible drawings. Acting out stories with my Barbies. Whatever I could do to get those creative voices out of my head.
So what was so special about that particular day?
It was when I received the Wrinkle in Time Trilogy by Madeleine L’Engle from Kathy, a dear friend of my parents. It was a box set, with elegant cursive writing on the front of the book holder; each book in a glossy jacket. In case you aren’t familiar with this science fantasy trilogy, it goes a little something like this (thank you Barnes and Noble!):
Fifty years ago, Madeleine L’Engle introduced the world to A Wrinkle in Time and the wonderful and unforgettable characters Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe. Now their first three adventures are together in one volume. In the Newbery Award winner A Wrinkle in Time, the children learn that Mr. Murry has been captured by the Dark Thing, and they must time travel to Camazotz to save him. In A Wind in the Door, Meg, Calvin and Mr. Jenkins (their grade school principal) must travel inside C.W. and battle to save Charles’s life—as well as the balance of the universe. And in A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Meg’s brother Charles Wallace has twenty-four hours to stop the tragedy of nuclear war from occurring.
Kathy told me these stores were one of her favorites in a handwritten note on the inside of the book. After devouring the Wrinkle in Time trilogy not once but twice I did more than just enjoy them. The stories introduced me to a whole new way of imagining, thinking, and ultimately writing. A quiet and shy little girl from Queens could now go on grand adventures that went beyond the skyscrapers and concrete sidewalks of the city. I experienced sci-fi concepts like time travel and distant planets collide with fantastical ones like supernatural beings and the ever ominous Black Thing. It challenged me to think and dared me to come up with stories just as captivating.
It also opened the door to devouring even more books in the genre:
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Game of Thrones
Fictional worlds. A sense of adventure. Concepts and ideas that make you think about the real world you live in. The genre isn’t just about dragons and elves. It’s an artistic spin on real life. It’s a medium where it’s okay to talk about touchy subjects without coming off as preachy or political. As writers, it challenges us to take the world we live in and reimagine it through the lens of how we see the world. Not only that, we have to then bring others into that place. It’s not easy by any means but we do it anyway, just for the chance to inspire just one person the way Wrinkle in Time encouraged me.
Let’s talk! What was the very first fantasy book you read? What about it made you fall in love with it?
BTW: Can I just say I’m beyond excited about the upcoming movie adaptation of the story directed by Ava DuVernay?!