I began creating nightly Ralph’s Place stories thirty-nine years ago. Friends cautioned: ‘once you start you can never stop. Imagine returning from a stressful day at the office and having to pick up the burden of another nighttime story?’ Ironically, I never experienced the problem. On the contrary, I crashed when I no longer had an audience. I can best describe the withdrawal as wandering aimlessly through the house looking for something I’d never ever find.
Ralph’s Place is a rich fantasy inspired by the daily bedtime stories I first created nightly for our son Alex, who succumbed to cancer at six-years old, and later for Daniel who was a fan for many years.
Alex was born 1976 in New York City and he died October 1980. His brother Daniel was born 1983 in New York City and is now a father with a lovely wife and their beautiful year-old baby girl. The penultimate Ralph’s Place was told when Daniel returned from summer camp with the flu. I say penultimate because no storyteller ever knows his last story. Also, I have plans to begin anew with a precious little girl.
Why revive the Ralph’s Place now? Ironically, the Ralph stories were resuscitated after a 28-mph bicycle crash into the roadside desert. The accident occasioned a visit to the University of Arizona Trauma Center with fractured and separated clavicle, eight fractured ribs, a hairline pelvic fracture and a partially deflated R-lung. Afterwards, I recuperated in bed at home with oxycodine and three bedside dogs, thinking about crazy things and feeling vulnerable when I began thinking it was a prudent time to write the Ralph’s Place North Woods narrative.
Hopefully, I might spark a storytelling renaissance. Once bedtime stories were fundamental to parenting. Imagine taking a trip today without all the electronic equipment to occupy bored children. There’s nothing to carry with storytelling. All you need is resident in your mind and you can plan the stories as you drive, but please keep your eyes on the road, and lookout for me on my performance bike.
Ralph’s Place: A Magical Experience, Jun 13, 2016 is available in paperback for $6.50 and Kindle $2.99