The Dreamers

The only limitations we have are those we put on ourselves.”

– Pauline Linscott

There was this treehouse in the woods that became a focal point of our childhood. The tall tree stood in the middle of a small clearing. Jagged wooden planks were nailed to the trunk and led up to the house. This house was a small box with windows and a roughly cut door. There was even a small porch attached to the structure. It always seemed as though a small wind could take it away and yet there were at times five to eight of us in the house. At the age of eight I could stand inside easily, but as I aged and grew by the time I was twelve I had to bow my head. After having the structure for so long we personalized it. Over the door on the inside we inscribed our names in bold colors; Raymond, Emily, Lily and Paul. Some of our cousin’s names were written in small, dark colors. There was a sturdy small table in the middle of the tiny room where we sat holding meetings concerning our kingdom or hosted elaborate banquets. It was a place of imagination, it held magic. When you stood on the little porch it felt as though you were king of the world and yet so fragile as it felt as thought the house could topple at any moment and bring you down with it. Around the back of the house was a fence wrapped around trees. Many times my cousins would climb up this and invade the castle. This was a weak point during a siege. This was Linean, the kingdom of our childhoods. The place our stories ran rampant and our imaginations grew strong.

We discovered that the world we built could be whatever we wanted. A king was appointed and we each had our own niche. I owned the local inn and stables and enjoyed creating different rooms. We had big adventures. While fighting ogres and fending off hordes of giants we forged bonds and learned to work together. Having our own kingdom we were responsible for it’s upkeep. How it looked reflected our minds. We continued to expand, adding on more structures, each corresponding with people’s jobs. We learned to make tepees from wood and twine. Making it all with our hands. It became the kingdom of our dreams. Why am I telling you this? It was an important time in my life, and that of my siblings and cousins. All the times that we built and explored together we learned. Learned about what we could do. It was our world and from the adventures I learned that we could build.

The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible.”

– Alice Kingsleigh (Alice in Wonderland)

The fruition of dreams always starts small. When you were young you wished for turrets covered in ivy, stables full of horses, expansive gardens and the courtyard was teaming with knights in glistening armor. One day you were the princess, dressed in exquisite gowns and dancing the night away. The next you were a peasant girl, dreaming of the day she would leave the dirt and cold behind. You could be anyone you chose to be. However they all had one thing in common. They were dreamers of big dreams, wanters of wandering. Adventurers to the core. Why did the dreams stop? The dreams became a struggle. A burden. A regret of things that were not to be. Things lost because they never were. Sometimes we need to go back to how we were as children. Reach inside ourselves and bring the dreams back. But use them as dreams that can propel us forward, applying them to our lives. We can’t be afraid to reach the impossible.

Short Stories

Memories in the Rain

This is a short story I wrote a few months ago and thought I’d share with all of you. I learned a lot about writing during this little project. One of the big things was discovering that I write with a lot of symbolism and elements of poetry when writing fiction, even without having written poetry till after this story. I also discovered how important it is to branch out and try new styles. When there is something you love to do, don’t hold back and be confined to one small section of it that you feel comfortable in. Branch out and learn more so you can be better at what you love. ”

– With Love, Lillian

Elanor Mills had worked at the library for over 50 years. Now she was back to revisit the books, her old friends. She gazed out the window as the rain rolled down the panes and the streets were washed with the fall days downpour. As Elanor watched she could see her memories played out in the droplets. 

She was 20 again, transported back by the drops of memories. Relocating to Great Falls, Montana had been a risky move. She had grown up in Virginia, in a house full of clouds. When she announced she would be leaving to study teaching at the University of Providence her father had not taken it lightly. 

“If you move you’ll regret it…I’ll make you regret it.”

He was a harsh man. Their home, a small white shackled house with morning glories climbing over the porch looked peaceful, but held a storm inside. She had to get out, had to leave. She had found shelter at the library, it’s big windows looking out onto the city provided an airy, lightness to the building, the walls of books were an escape. The distance from the storm made her feel almost safe. Elanor still felt a looming cloud behind her.

A year had past, she stood in the center of the same room, the cart of books in front of her providing a blockade between herself and the tall, lean man in front of her. He was danger. 

“Hi, could you possibly point me towards any books on Aristotle? Or maybe just Dr. Seuss, more my speed right?”

Elanor couldn’t respond, she wanted to hide but couldn’t walk away. His tousled hair and smiling, kind face seemed to welcome her in, but she didn’t want to welcome anything that may make the torrent start again. It had been a year, but her father still remained a looming threat. She had to move last month, he’d found her address, the letter was now a pile of ashes in her fireplace. She pointed to a cluster of bookshelves to the left, a hint of a smile on her face.

“Thank you so much! I can’t wait to find out if they’re Dr. Seuss or not! The name’s Albert, what’s yours?”

“Ela.” Why had she said Ela? The only one that could call her that was her mom. 

“Ela, it’s nice to meet you,” Albert said as he began walking towards the books she’d indicated. “I’ll see ya around.”

Three months later, the tempest arrived. A threatening monsoon of destruction. Ela sat at her desk at the library, she couldn’t contain it any longer. Last night had been horrendous. A tear escaped, landing on the page in front of her. She felt an arm around her, steady and strong, comforting instead of frightening. It was Albert.

A month later and somehow Albert had become her anchor and rudder. He’d propelled her out of the hurricane and had become the strength she needed. The storm had passed, she could see it in the distance but no longer felt it’s cold tendrils creep towards her. He had become her best friend.

“Wanna get a coffee…with me?”

“I’d love to Al.”

Two weeks after she’d realized he was her best friend, they’d gotten coffee. A simple act and yet it changed the course of both their lives. The espresso was poured and they laughed about his obsession with origami turtles, the milk steamed and they took bashful glances into each others eyes. Their smiling faces were lent color from the steaming mugs and burning hearts.

A year later, right next to the Dr. Seuss books he proposed. And in an instant all the clouds were chased away, they couldn’t hurt her anymore because she had him, her Albert. She had fought it at first, she always felt as though the typhoon would grow and grow until she could no longer stay afloat and then she’d drown. The courage would drain and she’d be an empty shell. She no longer had to stand alone. Finally.

Ela graduated and began teaching at a small school near their quaint home on Cavendish Lane. She still found time to work at the library for a few hours each week. She couldn’t leave the place that had brought her such comfort and joy. Through her the children learned about the magic of books, how the words could come alive. How they could give them courage or inspiration, and perhaps one day they too would find their own fairy-tale.

The raindrops rolled away far too quickly as they caressed the window. Each memory, good or bad, left a sweetness in Elanor’s spirit.  She watched a droplet of memory pass that showed her at the age of eight, looking out the window at the pouring rain. She couldn’t see the happiness, didn’t think it was possible and yet here she was now. Time had been kind to her, she found that fairy tale.

Elanor recalled Albert shambling about, a stack of books balancing in one hand and a coffee in the other. She remembered his mischievous smile and strong arms. His unbending force. But just like the droplets, Albert disappeared all too soon. 

She felt a calmness as she too waited to join their procession.


The Moments That Build Us

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Dr. Seuss

We are all made up of small moments. Tiny snippets of time combining to build who we are. My siblings and I are challenging each other to a air hockey duel, frantic running to the field of fire with buckets of water, terrified of the shark in the pool, laying on the floor in fits of laughter…these are the moments that make me.

I’ve come to realize how important it is to look back at these times, the good and the bad. And to realize how these memories molded who I am. But to not just stay in the past, but to learn from it, charge forward and push myself to do better than I think I can. I recently discovered that the only limitations I have are those that I put on myself and that the decisions I make today will decide my future. That used to scare me. I tried to not do anything, wouldn’t step out out of fear. Then I learned that there are consequences there too. Even a decision to “not do anything” is taking action. If I live my life in fear of what could be then I will never know what I could’ve done if I’d just done it! Taking a step forward is always better than standing still. I always thought I was someone that would jump at any chance for a new adventure or a mix up in the regular routine. However, that was only when it was fun or exciting, no work involved. It wasn’t until very recently that I admitted this to myself. And that’s where I learned another lesson, that I couldn’t move forward until I confronted myself. I couldn’t lie to myself and expect to grow. These moments of realization opened another path on my road. As will all that come. – With love, Lillian