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Child Spirit | S.D. Henke

“Did you know that in one single drop of water, there is electricity enough to generate two thunder-storms?” She tilts her head and peers down at the journal. “But the energy of the spirit…” She drops down to spit more words out on the page.

they must be protected


Tilly is one of the main characters in my novel, Story Bends, available on October 9th, 2018. By way of her own unique allure and charm, she embodies the child spirit both literally and figuratively in the story. She is, in essence, how I see the face of every child I’ve ever come into contact with and she exhibits a very tender and vulnerable part of myself. She’s given me the strength to see the light of love that surrounds me in my work and at home despite some difficult challenges I’ve faced.

But what I’ve discovered to be more profound, is that in the process of writing about her, I’ve been able to tap into my own child spirit and serve that part of me who needs holding and healing. Explained by Tilly in the quote above, theoretical science can explain the energy of water, but they have yet to discover the dynamism of the spirit. When I write stories, there seems to be an energy surging through me that I can only tap into when the words meet the page. The act of writing in the voice of these characters is not passive, but active, and it moves with purpose. It’s as if the spirit of the child voice inside has found its own way of coming to life. Each day in my real life, I spend time waking to that same rush of exuberance. Working with children ignites something unique and precious for me as a writer and a human being. The ideas that flow between me and my students seem to transcend simple standards of reality. It’s no happy accident that I choose to stand in a classroom full of enough electricity to generate the world ten times over. Because for me, as a writer, that is what it elicits.

Every child I come into contact with is a little fistful of kindling to catch my light. They are the key to my muse. Recently, I was asked if I could ever leave the classroom for other pursuits, namely writing. The short answer, “Not in a gazillion drops of water.” The long answer, and more to the truth, a secret I’ve kept until now, is that I need to serve the child spirit in me. She is one who laughs, who plays, and she’s held and captivated by the children who teach her. She is inspired by their resilience and their courage. But what she values most in the exchange, is that without their energy, the flickering light of the stories she tells might fade away without them. It is through writing and teaching that I have learned how to encourage my own child spirit. With words, I keep her protected, alive and well inside, so she can embark on a wanderlust of adventures, safe in the hands of the children who hold her.

Walk with your inner child, feed her with imagination, and rlish in her joy. For “Inside each of us lives a child, appreciative of life, and curious towards change. One who trusts fully, loves fearlessly, and is able to show emotions, both good and bad. Happiness can be found here. Choose to let this child live each and every day.”

~Doe Zantamata

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