The Richmond Register

January 9, 2014

Mitchell, Smith to teach art of bedtime story telling


Special to the Register

RICHMOND — “Winnie the Pooh.” “The Wizard of Oz.” “Peter Pan.”

We’ve all read these classics to our children and grandchildren. Just like our parents did for us.

It’s exciting to spend time in Hundred-Acre Wood. The Land of Oz. And Neverland. It never gets old. And never falls out of fashion.

But, why not mix things up a little? Try something totally different at bedtime? Share something that no other child has heard as they drift off to dreamland?

You can actually write your own bedtime story. One where your child is the star, surrounded by a supporting cast of family members, friends, pets and familiar places.

Join local authors Marie Mitchell and Mason Smith (“Squatch Watch and Other Stories,” “UFO: Unidentified Feathered Object,” “48 Hours,” “The Lost Dispatch”) for “Once Upon A Time: Personalizing Bedtime Stories.” They’ll guide you through developing your own personalized story for a young reader.

“We wrote stories for all four of our children for birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions,” Smith says. “It was fun to see their reaction as they recognized people and places in the story.”

“When Ingrid was younger, playing the violin and dancing around the house in her fairy wings, we wrote a short story for her about a lost fairy searching for a way to get home,” Mitchell says. “Of course, Ingrid saves the day by playing a tune that helps the fairy find her way back.”

“We’ve written several stories about Ruby’s black bunny, Trinity,” Smith says. “Our fictional one, named Ambrose, is a very brave bunny who solves mysteries. He foiled Oscar (the stuffed) Owl’s diabolical plan to devour the entire family.”

“Marlowe’s stories generally revolve around soccer,” Mitchell says, “since that’s been his enduring and endearing passion since he was four.”

“And you never get too old to enjoy a personalized story,” Smith says. “We wrote one for our oldest son, Mitchell, a few years ago when he was attending Centre College. It was about a building on campus that was allegedly haunted.”

“The fun thing about writing is you can make your favorite children, and yourself, heroes — with superpowers if you want. It’s up to you to weave their interests into a compelling story that brings you closer together,” Mitchell says.

The four week class, “Once Upon A Time: Personalizing Bedtime Stories,” begins Thursday, Jan. 9. Time: 7-8:30 p.m. at Richmond Area Arts Center, 399 W. Water St. Cost: $45. Sign up by calling: 624-4242.