Sick Ada

I don’t know where it came from, this idea for a story about a little girl who likes cicadas.

Except that I was a little girl who liked cicadas. I am a grown-up who loves them; I’ve written about this many times.

Anyway . . .

In my idea (that fell into my head when I was actually thinking of other things), a little girl is having a hard time adjusting to her parents’ separation. It’s connected to a change in seasons when she can’t hear cicadas anymore. Perhaps she will find some shed cicada shells and ponder the emptiness where a living thing used to be. Or how one outgrows things. Maybe she’ll even think that her parents have outgrown their love for her. I am not sure yet of all the meanings and connections; I will have to write and let the story grow and breathe on its own.

I do know, however, that the little girl becomes ill. Is it terminal? Not sure yet. She goes to the hospital. It’s winter. As she’s falling asleep, the heater in her room sounds like cicadas rattling high in the summer trees. It’s a happy sound, this buzzing. She will wonder if dying is not so bad, really, if she can just keep hearing cicadas . . . and then she hears voices. Her mother and father are there with her in the room, together if only for a little while, united in their concern for their sick daughter.

Whose name is Ada.

Sick Ada . . . cicada . . .

That’s as far as I’ve gotten, just grasping at these gossamer images, the barest wings of an idea.

But I think it might like to become a real story.

That belongs to children, for they live at the mercy of adults and the world.

And, of course, to cicadas, which are always buzzing somewhere, and which represent many things, mostly good.

Seems I almost owe it to little sick Ada, waiting there in the wings.

Photo: Girl with cicada bug. Jose Hernandez. CC BY-SA

13 thoughts on “Sick Ada

  1. Isn’t it fascinating how ideas, images, random thoughts, etc. can come together and create new ideas? Thanks for sharing the birth of your character and her story. I can’t wait to see where they take you! I anticipate a marvelous journey.

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  2. I’m fascinated by the connections we humans make between random bits of our lives and learning. I can see where bits of this story have come from your previous posts, and love the sad-but-punny moniker for your main character. Thanks for this glimpse into your writing thoughts!

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  3. If you don’t write this gem, I’m going to. Let my potential pirating be your impetus. I’m giving you a month…(Don’t even consider I’m kidding.) We’re doled out these sparkles only rarely. It’s our duty to respond.

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    • Oh, Clare! What a spark of joy you always are. I shall see where this leads. I can almost see the story as a picture book with gorgeous illustrations. Not sure, but will see what unfolds ❤

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  4. This sounds like a wonderful start to a story–I love the connections and heart-wrenching idea that tough times fall on a sweet girl. When I tried my hand at writing middle grade, this was one theme to which I kept returning: un-good things happen to good people. But they rise above them and persevere. Like the other commenters, I think the connection back to nature is intriguing and important. Can’t wait to read more about this!

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  5. I LOVE this post, the comments here (Clare pre-ordering, Marilyn pirating…) and of course YOU. Please don’t let Ada be terminal! I cannot take children dying. I sobbed my way through The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane when that little girl died I could not bare it…..could not read the words without choking. Love your plan but I pray Ada finds happiness and healing.

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