May 26th, 2011 - B.B. Russell
Slightly before dawn, I’m awoken. Not by the usual hungry cry of my infant, but rather by a dream. I am lost somewhere in the woods, trying to find someone. Not just anyone, but my person. I don’t know who they are, but know that I’ll recognize them when I see them. This dream is familiar and comes often since having children. I am lost and searching. Wanting a connection with someone and for them to see me. It is the theme that will later become a book and eventually, a series, though this won’t happen for few years because I haven’t started to write again. The days of journaling and doodling have long past, and I’m caught up in my career, the roles of motherhood, and being a wife. I’ve forgotten how reading and writing make me feel, and how the words can transform an ordinary story into one that captures my heart and soul, transports me to different places, or simply provide a glimpse into someone else’s life.
In this early morning moment, I let my imagination run wild like I used to in the tall green grass that surrounded my grandparents’ house, long hair dancing in the wind. I ponder my dream and what would happen next. Closing my eyes, I hear the crackle of the brittle branches beneath my feet as I move deeper into the forest and call out, Is anyone here? Where are you? And like tiny fireflies, mystical creatures begin to pop up and disappear in the imaginary woods of my mind. I can’t see them clearly, for they only exist for a moment. I wait for the one I’m searching for, though they don’t appear. My imagination betrays me. Later in the day, when I pause for a moment in between cleaning up spilled milk and waiting out a tantruming toddler, I realize, perhaps my imagination hadn’t betrayed me, but rather the story is not yet ready to unfold. I’m not ready to find the one for whom I’m searching, and what will happen is still yet to be.
In another year, I’ll give birth to my third child, as well as the story that wants to be told. It will start in one place, and end as a journey into the woods, to a fantasy carnival land, and through a series of connections that show belonging to self is so much more than fitting in. It is then I’ll allow myself to follow where the story needs to go and get lost in my written pages, to find my words, and tell the tale that my imagination brought me to time and again in my dreams. Ten years ago, writing my own stories would have to wait, though I found solace in books written by other creatives who would take me on magical journeys and help me find connection in their worlds. Each time I read one of their books, it inched me closer to mine. Delighted in their excursions and sad when they ended, they helped me to imagine the possibilities of what could be. It would only be a matter of time before I’d pick up a pen and begin writing again. Until then, I’d rely on my dreams coupled with my imagination to lead me toward a path of creativity, storytelling, and eventually writing a book. Curled under my covers, eyes closed, in the wee morning hours, I’d let my search for belonging enfold and focus on what might be without the pressure of what was. That is where I was ten years ago on this date.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and raised in western New York, B.B. Russell has always loved to read, write, and use her imagination. Having a keen interest in human development, she attended several colleges and eventually obtained her PhD in Education. A college professor and therapist, B.B. loves talking to and learning about others. When she’s not writing, teaching, or doing therapy, she can be found spending time with her loving husband, three children, her Bernese Mountain Dog, Doolin, and golden retriever, Paisley. Kindreds is her first young adult novel.
B.B. Russell encourages you to learn more about Together We Rise, a non-profit that makes the foster care experience BETTER for the 430,000 children going through it. Visit /www.togetherwerise.org.