The Princess and the Warden

Whew. So, in case you were anxiously wondering what happened to my blog in the month of November, (all two of you! 🙂  ), I was participating in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel-Writing Month. The challenge is 50,000 words in 30 days, or about a 100-page novella. Mine was uploaded for the official word-count on Nov. 30, at about 3pm, and came in at 52, 705 words. And it’s atrocious, so no, you can’t read it. But I FINISHED, which was the whole point. So now I can (maybe) get back to blogging. My back-log of blog drafts has grown its own ecosystem, so I’m not really short on material, only motivation. I thought we could start December with a little bit of whimsy.

I went to a meeting of my writer’s group yesterday, and one of the possible prompts offered was to respond to the image of being held hostage by your own emotions. I used the prompt to explore some re-curring themes for me, namely, my constant war on my own creativity. Here it is in all its fresh, stream-of-consciousness, barely-edited glory:

My inner child, let’s call her Princess Moxie Dandelion Unicorn, has lived nearly her entire life in prison. She enjoyed a brief toddler-hood of sunshine and exuberance before she offended the king, who punished her brutally. In response, her alter-ego, Warden Harping Control-Freak Matron, placed her safely out of the way in a damp stone cell with a little straw and a bucket and a daily ration of Saltine crackers.

Princess Moxie in her carefree days.

Princess Moxie in her carefree days.

This is the Warden. A little less green. Otherwise, there's an incredible resemblance.

This is the Warden. A little less green. Otherwise, there’s an incredible resemblance.

For years, Princess Moxie sang songs to herself in the dark, counted her fingers and toes, remembered sunlight, and cried for attention, to no avail. Every once in a while she would grow thin enough to slip between the bars, and then if she were lucky, Harping Matron would fall asleep on duty, and she could sneak out for a little while and enjoy a romp in the grass. It never lasted very long, of course, because the Matron got a lot more exercise than the Princess, which made her sort of pathetically easy to re-capture.

Some time back, the king was overthrown and everyone was granted a pardon, but no one remembered to tell Harping Matron. When she finally heard about it, she was sure it was a malicious hoax, some cruel trick of the king’s to test her loyalty by luring her and Moxie into a sense of freedom and security before visiting crushing punishment on them both. And so Warden Harping Control Freak Matron faithfully supervises her charge, like a Japanese soldier lost in the jungle, still fighting a war that expired years ago.

Recently, Princess Moxie Dandelion Unicorn negotiated for parole, and now she is permitted regular walks outside, closely supervised by the Harping Matron, who keeps up a steady harangue about the dangers of the world and Moxie’s general unsuitability for navigating its terrors. Moxie is regularly assured that she would certainly die if she wandered off by herself.

Every now and then the Princess gets to see something cool without the Warden interfering.

Every now and then the Princess gets to see something cool without the Warden interfering.

There is hope. Every now and then, the Warden catches herself enjoying the flowers, and Moxie gets a few moments entirely to herself. As these moments accumulate, she is gradually learning to breathe and think on her own again, absent the tense hand-wringing that has been her constant companion for all these years. The really beautiful thing is that Moxie is truly uninterested in revenge or retribution. In fact, as improbable as it seems, she is genuinely fond of the Matron, and she is still hoping to win the Warden over into best-friendship, the better to share the joys of caterpillars and puddles. It may be too much to hope for to see the Warden someday cavorting with butterflies and tadpoles, but hope springs eternally sunny yellow in Moxie’s now-only-slightly-malnourished breast, and it might at least be achievable for them to take turns leading the walks – the Warden when things look suspicious, and Moxie when they don’t. Stay tuned.

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1 Comment

Filed under creative writing, personal

One response to “The Princess and the Warden

  1. aabsofsteel

    So glad you posted this. Hooray for Princess Moxie Dandelion Unicorn!!

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