December 7, 2006

One of my friends has been franticly applying to graduate schools for the past few months. Since she wants to be a screenwriter, most of the grad schools asked for creative writing pieces. Here is a children's story she wrote. I think it's pretty good.

Sophie the Short
by Jill B.

Some people are born too early, and some are born too late.
Some people are born too big.

Sophie was born exactly when the doctor had predicted.
The problem with Sophie wasn’t that she was too big…

Sophie, in fact, was born too short.

In most families, Sophie wouldn’t have seemed too small,
But the fact was, the rest of her family was extremely tall.

Her mother could reach the very top shelf of her closet to pull down shoes.
Her father could touch the rim of their basketball hoop in the driveway.

Sophie’s brother, at ten, could take any book off the top library shelves.
And her sister, at only five, could put Christmas ornaments near the top of their tree.

Sophie could only sit in the corner of her extra-long crib and kick around her little legs.

As Sophie got older, her height didn’t quite seem to catch up with the rest of her family.
When she wanted to read a book, she had to stack all the books from the lower shelves just to reach the one she wanted on top.
When she wanted a cookie, she had to climb up a chair and pull herself onto the kitchen counter before she could even see the jar.

Whenever Sophie needed new clothes, the problem was the same every time.
Everything seemed as if it were made for a monkey, instead of a five-year-old girl.

Her sleeves hung down over her fingers, and her pants were five inches too long.
Her mother would hem her clothes every time, setting aside the pieces of cloth she cut off.

In family photos, the photographer would always cut off the heads of her family in order to get her in the picture.
At movies, she could never sit by herself in her seat because she couldn’t see over the one in front of her.
Sophie ended up having to sit on her mother’s or father’s knee instead.

“She’ll never be a ballerina, that’s for sure,” said her mother.
“She’ll never be a basketball player,” said her father.
“She’ll never be a model,” said her sister.
“She’ll never be able to even reach the top shelf!” said her brother.

When Sophie went to school for the first time, she found things weren’t much different.
Nobody would pick her to be on their team at school because she was so much shorter than them.
In art class, she couldn’t hang her pictures up on the wall with everyone else.

Sophie was sad. How could she like school when she wasn’t good at anything?

Sophie came home from school crying that day. When her mother saw her, she didn’t know what was wrong.
“Why are you crying, Sophie?” she asked.
“I can’t do anything everyone else can because I’m too short!” Sophie said.

Sophie’s mother felt bad for her daughter. What could she do to make her feel better about being short?

After dinner that evening, Sophie’s family sat in front of their fireplace and opened up their box of Christmas decorations to hang.
Sophie could only watch as her brother and sister helped their father string lights up the tree and hang garland around the ceiling.

“Would you like me to lift you up so you can put the star on top?” her father asked.
Sophie only shook her head no.

Her mother saw she was sad and opened up their piano bench to pull out a book of songs.
She sat down at the piano and told Sophie to come over to her.

“Why don’t we sing some carols for them?” her mother said.
Sophie’s mother played the Christmas songs on the piano, and soon, Sophie was singing along with her.

Her mother noticed that as Sophie sang, she became happier.
Sophie and her mother sang Christmas carols together until it was bedtime.

The next day, Sophie’s mother took her to a new building after school.
After climbing the tall stairs, Sophie entered a room filled with musical instruments and a piano.

“Hello!” the woman next to the piano said. “I’m Mrs. Jones, and I’m a music teacher. Your mother tells me you like to sing very much.”
“Yes,” said Sophie. “It’s my favorite part of school because I don’t have to be tall to do it.”
“Well, you’re right. Shortness isn’t a problem here,” said Mrs. Jones, smiling. “How big your voice is has nothing to do with how big you are.”

Sophie smiled and let Mrs. Jones lead her to the piano.
Every week after that, Sophie went to lessons at Mrs. Jones’s studio.

When Christmas came around next year, Mrs. Jones said she wanted to put Sophie in her Christmas concert.
She even gave her a solo.

Sophie’s mother took her shopping for a new Christmas dress to wear in the concert.
The sleeves and the hem of the velvet dress were still too long.

Sophie began to frown, but she didn’t say anything.
Her mother hemmed her dress like usual and kept the scraps.

Looking at the pile of scraps she’d collected from Sophie’s dress gave her an idea.
Sophie’s mother began to pour the pieces out onto her bed and arrange them.

The next evening, Sophie’s family was getting ready to leave for the concert when her mother pulled out a box.
“This is a present for our little star,” she said.

Sophie opened the box and pulled out a big quilt.
It was pieced together from scraps of many different kinds of fabric.
There were denim strips and cotton printed with flowers and even velvet

“What’s this?” asked Sophie’s father.
“I made this from all the pieces I’ve cut from Sophie’s clothing,” said her mother.

Sophie looked at the blanket and recognized many of the pieces from some of her favorite clothes.
“This is from my jeans!” she said. “And this is from my new Christmas dress!

“Yes,” said her mother. “I wanted to give you this because tonight is very special.”
“It is?” said Sophie.

“Mmm-hmm,” said her mother. “I wanted you to remember that height has nothing to do with what you can do. What matters is who you are and what you like. We’ve cut these pieces off your clothes because you’re short, but that’s not who you are. Your voice is.”

Sophie hugged her mother. “Can I take it with me tonight?” she asked.
“Of course,” said her mother. “Let’s go!”

And with that, Sophie and her family went to the concert, where Sophie had the biggest voice of all.

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