~*~“Tell me a story.”
The moon poured a milky light onto her bed. Daisy curled her body into a fetal position and yawned so wide I could see the back of her throat. We were about to be nine and I remember thinking I could make everything right with the world. I’d become infatuated with reading. My imagination ballooned inside of me waiting to share all kinds of stories. I snuggled up to her and breathed in her orangey scent.
“Witches or monsters this time?”
I grew quiet. A shiver crept over my summer-warmed skin. I could handle her fear of witches and monsters. I knew exactly what to say to get her mind off those. But neither? I’d have to invent a good story this time.
*from THE FLOWER GIRLS, by Wendy Paine Miller
I don’t think anyone would argue with me when I assert stories possess great power. An article entitled “Your Brain on Fiction” in The New York Times explores this further. Click here for full article. “Brain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.”
Stories can change us. Poppy seemed to get this as she worked hard to allay her sister’s fears. She wanted to create another world for Daisy to go to when this world proved too overwhelming or confusing. I get this. I’ve been known to pick up a book a time or two for the same reason.
And when I contemplate the following from The New York Times article I quoted earlier, I even more deeply appreciate the intrinsic value of reading fiction.
“Individuals who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and see the world from their perspective.”
I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you ever think about how stories influence your life? How much impact and power do you think fiction possesses?
Imagine staring into the face of a loved one with no recollection of who they are. Every person a stranger. Daisy O’Reilly's inability to recognize faces, a cognitive disorder resulting from a childhood accident, causes her to rely heavily upon her twin sister, Poppy. Perhaps too much so.
Overwhelmed by Daisy’s needs, Poppy anticipates the freedom her upcoming wedding will bring—a chance to relinquish her obsessive worries about Daisy and escape the clutches of guilt from one hazy day when the girls were seven. When they were still invincible.
With a thriving floral photography career but a floundering love life, Daisy questions how strong she will be on her own. And who she might become without Poppy living down the hall or offering a deluge of reminders during each social interaction.
But for the O’Reilly sisters to properly let go, they must first understand what they’re holding on to.
Wendy Paine Miller is a native New Englander who feels most alive when she’s laughing, reading, writing or taking risks. She’s authored ten novels and recently released her novella, THE DISAPPEARING KEY. She’s currently writing what she hopes will be your future book club pick. Wendy lives with her husband, their three girls, and a nocturnal Samoyed pup in a home bursting with imagination and hilarity. She’s represented by Rachelle Gardener of Books & Such Literary Agency.