On Sunday night, we tried something I read about recently in Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. It's called a story circle, and we now have a new Sunday night tradition. After dinner was done and dishes were cleaned up, I called everyone back together. Goldberg says "lighting a candle helps to create a sense of magic," so we lit a candle in the middle and the six of gathered on our concrete floor around our concrete coffee table. Because we had leftover ice cream from Bauer's birthday last week, and because I wanted to kick things off in the most positive way possible, I made little cups of ice cream for everyone to enjoy while we were in our story circle.
If it sounds simple so far, it's because it was. And so it continued...
I began by saying that we are in a story circle and we are going to tell each other stories because stories are very important for us to hear and to speak. This is how we will know each other and how we will know ourselves.
Tell us a story about ice cream, I said.
Story eagerly went first, and she told us about Burger King having fish sandwiches and ice cream. What?!
Cash volunteered to go next, and he shared about the progression of his favorite flavors from strawberry to mint chocolate chip to cookies and cream.
Bauer asked for more time to think.
TJ shared a childhood memory of eating an orange and black flavored ice cream called "Tiger Tiger," that he would sometimes get from the gas station. He would take a few bites of orange and black, before swirling it all together in a gray mixture the color of concrete. And then he'd eat the concrete.
I talked about going to Baskin Robbins with my granddaddy each summer during our family beach trips when I was little. He would take me and my sister some nights after dinner and let us pick whatever ice cream we wanted. Out of 31 flavors, I always chose chocolate chip, and always on a sugar cone. I remember the smell of Baskin Robbins and I miss my granddaddy. He always got plain vanilla.
Bauer asked if he had to tell a story, and I figured we could begin by holding loosely to the story idea. Just tell us something about ice cream. Something you remember. Something you read. Something you like. Something you wish for.
Bauer talked about eating vanilla and chocolate when he was younger, then trying birthday cake flavor and lemon and strawberry, and now just wanting cookies and cream, "the kind Josh and Felicia brought over recently."
Sailor happily slurped and spilled, again and again. And she said, "good."
Story wanted to tell more stories, so we circled back again. Story talked about going to Brusters on the last day of preschool and getting a cone with sprinkles and a smiley face.
Cash told us that the last time he had mint chocolate chip was two years ago.
Of course, they all asked if we can have ice cream at our next story circle. And they all asked to blow out the candle. (Cash got to go first.)
And that, my friends, is the end of the story about our very first story circle.