Today’s Daily Post: A literary-minded witch gives you a choice: with a flick of the wand, you can become either an obscure novelist whose work will be admired and studied by a select few for decades, or a popular paperback author whose books give pleasure to millions. Which do you choose?
Yvonne waved the wand like her dancing imagination. The pentagram made of twigs that hung around her neck brushed over her shirt. “Let’s play ‘would you rather.’ Would you rather have critical fame, or popular fame?”
If I hadn’t just watched her turn two wood statues of cats into little kittens, I would have thought she was only playing a game. The kittens—one black, one white—nibbled on my fingertips. My allergies even started acting up. They were real all right.
“What’s the catch?”
“No catch. You just won the lottery. What’s it going to be?”
A family came over and asked to play with the kittens. Yvonne gave them away as gifts. My mind ran in dozen different directions at a thousand miles an hour as they talked about it. A little boy giggled as the kitten nuzzled his cheek. He looked like he’d just gotten everything he ever wanted.
Yvonne smiled as she watched the family leave. She looked at me. “Oh. Sorry. Well?”
“Well… sure I want everyone to love it…”
“Ahhh…” She lifted the wand. She started to make tiny circles with the end. I imagined I saw glitter falling out.
“…but I want it to be great, too!”
Yvonne slammed the withered old stick down on the table. “Oh, stop being a wuss and just tell me!”
I was surprised it didn’t shatter. “All right! All right! Neither.” Yvonne’s head snapped back as if I’d just pulled her braids. She didn’t say anything.
I could hear the sound of the outdoor mall around us more clearly. Yvonne’s silence grew larger and larger in the space of our conversation. I had to fill up the void. “Thank you, but I’ll just pass. I have to earn it.”
“Yeah. Sure I am. What’s it worth if you didn’t earn it?”
Yvonne nibbled on the end of her wand. “Hmm. I never thought of that.”
“You’re not going to blow your face off with that thing, are you?”
“What? Oh… no. It’s a wand, not a gun. All right. Have it your way.” Yvonne spun the wand.
She said something in a language that I’d never heard before, that every cell in my body recognized. The universe went “pop.”
I blinked. I looked at my hands. They were the same. Past them, I could see Yvonne smiling. She put the wand back in her purse.
I touched my face. I felt the same. “What did you change? What’s different?”
“Everything will unfold how it’s supposed to,” she said. As my mother would say, she looked like she’d swallowed a bird. She wouldn’t stop smiling.
“How’s that different from how it was?”
“I asked for the highest good. I think the universe said yes.” She got up. “I have to go. I’ve got class.”
“Wait. You think it said yes? You don’t know?”
“Well, come on. It’s a big universe. Even I have to take a few things on faith.” Yvonne touched my cheek. “Keep writing. We’ll see what the answer was.”
Photo credit: “Comfy Cat” by Daniel Lee at Flickr
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PS: That’s my answer, too. A big part of the fun is the work it takes to get there. I take the rest on faith, that the universe is unfolding as it should. If you forced me to pick one of those two options, I would say that I want to be an author whose books give pleasure to millions. It’s not up to me whether they’re remembered fifty years from now. To know that I helped millions of people smile? Wow. Entertaining someone, touching their heart, making them think… that’s the greatest honor I can think of.