Head In The Clouds

Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my ‘nose in a book’ or my ‘head in the clouds’ while the four siblings were off being kids. Most of the time, the ‘head in the cloud’ phrase meant I was alone with pencil and paper, writing. The siblings were used to that. So much so that I think they forgot sometimes that I lived in the same house. Except for the youngest sister. She remembered me when spiders showed up in her room.

Holly Easter 1965

She still hates spiders

There was the day the siblings played basketball while I cried on the bed with a befuddled mother sitting next to me.

‘If they ask you to play you always say no.’

‘But I want to be asked!’

I still remember how I wailed those words, and how even then, I realized how silly that sounded. Because she was right. I would have said no if they’d asked.

There was the time my brother got mad at me for something when we were around nine or ten. I have no idea why. It’s not like I beat him at basketball. But to get back at me, he loosened the bolts on my bicycle’s handlebars and front tire.

Steven and ?

The pre-sabotage bike days

The problem was, my nose was always in a book and my head in the clouds. Feet on pedals don’t work in those situations. The days and weeks passed and he forgot. Until one day his bike had a flat tire. He borrowed mine.

See? If that nose hadn’t been in the book, it probably would have been broken.

Then there were words.

‘What were you thinking?’

‘Didn’t you hear what I said?’

‘Didn’t you see me?’

Nope. I was thinking about Prince Caspian. I was hearing Arietty talking to Pod and Homily. I was seeing the wolves of Willoughby Chase running across frozen snow.

the three

‘Look at the camera. Lisa. Lisa! Lisa!!!’

There were the nights with flashlights under the blankets, sneaking a book or whispering a made-up story to the youngest sibling.

There were joyous moments talking and talking and talking with a small group of friends about books we read. Matter of fact, fifty-odd years later I still talk books with those same girls. Oops. Women.

And there were all those times when the story world was a kinder place to be than the real world.

So if you see me smiling while you talk to me, there’s no guarantee I’m actually there.

My head’s probably in the clouds. In the stories.

haybrook road 033

26 thoughts on “Head In The Clouds

  1. I can’t recall who made the observation, but it is along the lines of being able to tell who in a class of kids will grow up to be writers — it’s the one looking out the window!

    I was a daydreamer, too, much to everyone’s chagrin. I spent more time drawing than reading, although I did a lot of that, as well!

    • Stephen King! He said you could go into any grade school classroom and the kid staring out the window would be the writer. How true. I imagine you told stories in your drawings though, knowing you.

  2. Hahaha love your stories from the past with the matching pictures. I did the telling stories with my brother through the wall deviding our once big bedroom into 2 and having my nose in books to the point where my mom told me to come down from my loft and stop reading… lol
    And yes I daydreamed up all kinds of stories, even now. Its just so much fun and honestly often better than reality. Because your dreams can always have the happy ending you want for yourself.

  3. Love all these stories! And I can’t get enough of those old photographs. To me, the old photos seem to capture more of the soul than the billions of cell phone pics these days. Maybe since they were few and far between, you didn’t waste the opportunity, who knows. Keep the pics and the stories coming.

    • I think you’re right about the old photos although it didn’t dawn on me until you said this. No photoshop, no airbrush, no enhanced color. Just the way life really was. These days with photos you can’t tell what’s fake and what’s natural.

  4. Story of my life! Mom used to make me go play outside as punishment (I never got grounded, the siblings still whine about that). Did you get behavior checks on your report card for looking out the window and daydreaming….not paying attention? I did every year. I now consider those my badges of honor. Thanks for the smiles. Keep writing!

  5. My mother was fond of saying she knew I was behaving when she couldn’t hear me. I was always in my room reading or playing with my Legos, making up my own little worlds over and over. I still stare out the window sometimes.

    Thank you for the nice memories!

    • Oh, I’m very familiar with Lego worlds! My son and I had a lot of adventures with those. It’s funny that your mother said the opposite of what most do – that if the child is quiet they know the kids are up to something. Keep staring out those windows. And maybe we need to pull the old Legos out.

  6. Pingback: Head In The Clouds ā€” Lisa Stowe – The Story River Blog – efeufuoma

  7. Wow this old photographs are amazing. Anytime I look and see old photos I feel more connected to the soul unlike now, and the cameras are so clear now. Great story also. I give this two thumbs up, considering its just me. šŸ˜‰

    • We were talking about this in earlier comments – how the photos these days could be photo-shopped, airbrushed, color enhanced…you never know what’s real and what isn’t. So it makes perfect sense to me that you’d feel more connected to the soul of the older photographs. And thanks for the two thumbs-up!

  8. That sure sounds familiar. I’ve learned to be aware of the world around me, but I’m also aware of the other world, the one I write about, and it’s often a more interesting place, so I slip over there sometimes. Then I come back and report what I saw. It’s all good, right? Right?

    • No argument from me! Goes right along with telling someone about something that happened while my husband sits there thinking ‘I don’t remember it like that.’ When he mentioned that one time I said ‘yeah, but my version was better, wasn’t it?’ And you are also very right about the two worlds. For us writers, both worlds are just as real, aren’t they?

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