Did you know there is a U.S. Children's Poet Laureate?
This recent discovery sparked an interest in me to write poems for my kids. Not the silly, rhyming kinds of poems we've seen and read thousands of times. But real poems—those with an engaging narrative surface and figurative leaps.
Do you happen to know the secret of a great children's story?
It's a secret.
Some adults—the ones who grow up and their hearts die—mistakenly think the secret to a great children's story is magic.
They see Spiderman's superpower and they think the superpower (i.e. the magic) is the secret sauce. They encounter a story like Peter Pan or Narnia and think the magical world is the secret sauce.
But you and I see something they can't. They are like those in The Polar Express who discover the bell no longer rings. It rings for those who believe.
The secret to a great children's story, or any story as a matter of fact, is that the story involves a secret. (Are you with me?)
Batman has a secret. And operates from a secret cave under Wayne Manor.
Peter Parker has a secret. He's Spiderman.
Harry Potter learns a secret. He's a wizard.
Narnia is a secret world.
The Magic Treehouse is a secret between Jack and Annie.
The Polor Express is a secret.
Wendy, John and Michael have a secret. It's called Neverland.
Even Max (the boy that was sent to bed without eating anything) had a secret: there's a place where the wild things are.
Secrets make great stories.
Secrets are powerful because they tap tension in an engaging way.
Secrets create insiders and outsiders, which also breeds tension (and excitement).
The secret sauce in a great book, movie, band, blog or whatever lies in how well it creates tension through the sharing of a secret. Or how well it embodies a secret. For example, a new restaurant or club becomes the "it" place because "it's the best kept secret in town."
And, as we all know, secrets beg to be shared.
I've shared the secret with you. Now it's your turn to share the secret with those you serve.
See you next Sunday...
PS: Thank you for your insightful (and very kind) responses to my question last week. It meant so much!
PPS: April is National Poetry Month. If you like poetry click here. If poetry isn't your thing, read this or these.