Friday, December 28, 2012

The Magic of Childhood

World over, children envision life through the kaleideoscope of innocence and imagination.  Trying to create meaning of the adult world and their own emotional responses, children turn to magical thinking. Ceci Sullivan is Saint Sullivan's six-year-old daughter. More than imaginative, she is somewhat of a visionary. Her responses to the stress of her parents' dysfunctional marriage, her mother's abuse, and her father's emotional inavailability are magical, but poignant in their childish wisdom. Within her visions are protection and warning. 

Ceci's great-aunt's antique wooden statue draws the child to the old woman's altar where Ceci experiences a small miracle. An excerpt from Part One of Saint Sullivan's Daughter:

"Santa Barbara, my mama is always mad and my daddy is--well, he's late--and it's my birthday. I just keep waiting." Ceci's hands tighted around the edge of the shelf, and she stared into the sad saint's eyes, until in one of them a teardrop formed. Down the side of Saint Barbara's nose it rolled and fell onto Ceci's thumb, cold a warm, light the wintergreen oil Pilar rubbed on her knees at night.

A shiver climbed Ceci's back and shook the teardrop off her finger. She was suddenly afraid. Never had she monkeyed with anything so important as a saint. But that was not all. Something was coming--something worse than being spanked or yelled at.

There could be very bad things in the world; she had watched the news with Daddy, seen the blurry movies of people crying about fires and earthquakes. The news wasn't as real as this feeling, balled up in her stomach, the size of an apple. Something was coming--what Tía called a catastrophe--a beautiful word Ceci loved until she learned its meaning.

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