Wednesday, April 4, 2012

the secret forest

I'm a series of little obsessions, and for a while, I was obsessed with this place.

Between City Hall and the City Auditorium in my home town, there's a bridge.

Under that bridge is a secret forest.

The trees start twenty or more feet below the bridge and rise up on either side. A creek trickles underneath. Deer roam there, birds twitch in the leaves. In the winter, you can see a little bit of what happens so far below. But once the leaves start unfurling, you can't be so sure.

Anything could be down there.

Velociraptors. Fairies. Chupacabras.

Wild cats.

In middle school, I was in a play at the Auditorium. While I waited for my mom to come pick me up, I would stare off the bridge and into the secret forest, wishing I could skid down the hill and explore it.

I never got to. And for a long, long time, I forgot about it. And then I drove by, and it caught my eye, and it became one of my little obsessions.

I couldn't help wondering. What if there was a big pipe down there? What if there was a door in the pipe? What if that door led to an abandoned hotel full of doors and a whole new world?

Umbra, I called it. It was a place where everything was in shades of gray, where the ruined air forced everyone into elaborate plague masks and dark cloaks. A place where octopi roamed on land and rats were venomous and anteaters walked on leashes.

The key to that world was a gray tabby cat named Inky, and a boy named Ren had a grand adventure.

That book didn't sell, unfortunately. I don't know why. I didn't ask for notes. And I'm still licking my wounds. On one hand, it's a failure, writing a book and taking it out and knowing it wasn't good enough. On the other hand, I know that one day, I'm going to find a home for it.

The secret forest has a story to be told. I called mine The Psychopomp of Umbra. One day, it'll come into the light.

And one day, I'm skidding down that hill, to see if it's true.



tatgurl said...

That sounds like a great story!!! Can't wait to read it some day :) I bet my boys would love it!

jarvenpa said...

I loved this story, nice to see the place that inspired it. tatgurl, yes, it is a great story. The publishers were silly not to snap it up. But I keep predicting that eventually they will want to publish D's grocery lists. Anything her lovely hands have touched.
BTW, I was thinking more of Sang, and I want (are you listening and taking notes) sometime there...a small group of children, in the scary woods, who have learned to live peacefully with the blud critters even though they are poor lost little pinkies.

amber d* said...

You have one of the best imaginations and that place looks gorgeous!

Jon Plsek said...

Yes! Good ideas never go away, they just wait. Ps—I know that bridge...a special place that is...

Pinafores and Pinwheels said...

That would make an awesome kids book!

Jewels said...

Can't imagine why, I want to read it already. Beautiful pic by the way.