Maybe I should do a whole series on finding inspiration, as right now, it seems to be everywhere. I’m reading voraciously to help develop what my old psychology professors might call a “felt sense” of the middle-grade reader. On a whim I picked up The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster from the Ellensburg Public Library. I remember reading and loving this book when I was in grade school. I love it still as a grown-up.
This passage on p. 11 took my breath, it’s so wonderful. Milo, the 10-year-old boy who receives the Phantom Tollbooth as a gift, finds himself lost in the Doldrums:
“And worst of all,” he continued sadly, “there’s nothing for me to do, nowhere I’d care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing.” He punctuated this last thought with such a deep sigh that a house sparrow singing nearby stopped and rushed home to be with his family.
It’s funny, moving, touching, silly, and perfectly done. We know that sigh, we relate to the sigher, and we also know exactly what the house sparrow feels. Lovely work.