Live Your Life as a Fairy Tale
Lillian Darnell has always loved books. Even before she could read and as a toddler she slept with books in her crib instead of stuffed animals. She is now 17 years old and her debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018.
The collection of writings in the book were written by Lillian between the ages of four and fifteen. The published book is a fulfillment of a promise I made to Lillian many years ago. This is Lillian’s mother, Camilla Downs. I am deeply grateful to Katie for inviting us for a guest post!
At the age of three, Lillian was delayed in more than three milestones, so we were referred for in-depth blood testing. She was diagnosed with 18p- and thus began an utterly different journey than I had envisioned; and which I wrote about in my first book, “D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance”.
The 18p- chromosome deletion affects 1 in every 56, 000 people. The number 18 represents the 18th chromosome and the p- means that she is missing the short arm of the 18th chromosome. These “arms” are what house our genetic coding.
The most inhibiting effect of 18p- for Lillian is her ability to communicate. She simply cannot articulate letter sounds the way the rest of us are accustomed to hearing them pronounced. This causes much of her speech to be unintelligible. Other ways in which the deletion has affected her are irrational fears, anxiety, sensory issues, balance issues, low pain tolerance, and challenges with processing strong emotions and change.
Lillian has always had difficulty processing change. Any change that deviates from what she expects, brings forth unwanted and uncomfortable feelings. Lillian struggles letting herself feel these emotions. When puberty began, this intensified with deepening irrational fears and violent outbursts.
The struggles she had with processing emotions led to the “Emotions with Animals” section of the book. It takes a detour into a period of time that Lillian and I were working together using mindfulness and emotional connection. It was her idea to write these as blog posts, pairing animals with certain emotions. She did her own research, asking for my input with the concluding tips section.
I describe the whole of the collected writings in her book as a fictional anthology of Lillian’s life and imagination to date. The imagination and creative process of one with a chromosome deletion and how she chooses to see our world.
The stories and poems were mostly edited for spelling and grammar, yet the bulk of the stories remain as she originally wrote and published them; including a few grammatical errors and made up words. I did not want the essence of Lillian to be lost with extreme editing to make each sentence “proper”.
Lillian is unschooled; which is similar to homeschooling and means that she focuses on her interests and talents with learning. This is her senior year and she’ll be graduating this June 2019!
Lillian loves to draw, paint, read, write, track the weather, thoroughly research topics of interest to her, and she enjoys being in nature.
She and I have a date day together once a month that began when she was a toddler. Also, as a family (along with Lillian’s younger sibling) we have a weekly movie night, usually on Saturday, that began when Lillian was a toddler.
In 2009 I coined the phrase Team TLC for our family as we were going through struggles and I sensed we needed something that would bring us together. The T stands for Thomas (Lillian’s younger sibling), the L stands for Lillian, and the C stands for Camilla. The phrase really stuck with our family, friends, and supporters as ten years later we still get mail addressed to Team TLC. We even have a website where we share our life at TheTeamTLC.com.
As Lillian’s mother, I knew deep within that being an artist was to be her path. I have done my best to support her artistic endeavors.
I’m handing it over to Lillian now to share her own thoughts ….
My inspirations for writing are nature, coloring, drawing, reading, something I catch myself saying, food, and holidays. Most times my writing flows through me like a river.
Some of my favorite foods are French Fries, cheese (dairy and vegan – dairy bothers my stomach), dark chocolate, snickerdoodle cookies, chocolate cake, gluten free powdered donuts, and strawberries. I really enjoy volunteering at our local library one day a week and my family and I live in Reno, Nevada USA.
Camilla Downs (my mother), Daisy Meadows, Helen Perelman, and L.M. Montgomery are the authors who inspire me a lot.
I would like my readers to take away from my tales, legends, and poems to enjoy nature, be yourself, enjoy life, and enjoy reading as much as you can too.
I love all of the writings in my book; yet, my favorite is “Princess Beauty”. It’s about a girl who wants to become a princess. Her life is changed in a way she’ll never forget! I’d like to share a quote from the story,
“Beauty is always in you, no matter what people say.” – Princess Britney
May you always live your life as if it’s your very own fairy tale. Because it is!
THE GREAT UNIVERSE
It all started on a warm summer night in a cozy home where a girl lay sleeping, until she felt a jolt and she realized she wasn’t in her home anymore. She thought, “Why is there nothing?” and she got her answer. An echoing voice said, “You are where the universe began. It’s up to you to make the planets including Earth. Once you’ve made Earth, start creating. Have fun!”
So the girl quickly discovered she could use her mind and creativity to make everything. First, she designed Earth to look sparkly, clean, and rainbow colored. Second, she made other planets look like the colors of the rainbow. She went into Earth and saw she needed to make the moon and stars. So she made the moon look and taste like cheese. She made stars look like glitter.
She made the sky look indigo when it was daytime. She exited Earth to put the blue colored sun near Earth. She entered Earth again and realized she needed to plant some plants. Luckily, she had some seeds in her pocket. She planted them. She added orange water to Earth to help the plants. She also needed rain. So she made red rain by circling her hand. She made green clouds too.
She realized she was lonely so she added animals of different colors. She created yellow grass so she could rest. Soon the animals became bored with just the little girl. The animals spoke to the girl about being lonely. She said, “No problem. I can make humans; but first, I need to set aside some land for roads, buildings, homes, shops, stores, and more.”
As she spoke, she created all the other things humans needed. After that, she formed the first two people. She also cast a spell to make a child, and to make it grow. The humans were magenta. The animals were amazed at how quickly the humans formed and adapted.
She thought she was done, but the voice spoke to her saying that she would have to use creativity, quick thinking, and more. So she tried casting a spell to make the years speed by but it didn’t go as planned.
She made a makeshift bed and tried to get into her cozy home. That didn’t work so she tried to get the people and animals to help her. They saw a note on the palm tree. The girl was able to reach it. She realized it was a riddle. She realized all she had do was fall asleep.
Before she fell asleep, she cast one final spell and it was the days of the week, months, and years. She fell asleep after that. There was a surprising jolt and she woke up. She was happy to find herself back in her bedroom. She couldn’t help thinking it was all a dream.
Just then, a friendly voice explained that it wasn’t a dream. It was morning.
She went to the kitchen to tell her parents the most amazing thing happened to her. Her parents explained to her she had a real vision. Years later, she grew up to become a beloved author. Her name was Morgana and she had been eleven-years-old when the amazing thing happened. She lived in Australia at the time. She loved the book “Anne of Green Gables.” She thought it described her life perfectly.
(Written September 2016 at 15-years-old)
SHADOWS ARE ALWAYS THERE
Shadows are the darkness of day.
Shadows are the eclipses of the day.
Shadows are almost always there.
Shadows are fast as a cheetah.
Shadows are entertaining like a prism.
Shadows are bright like a rainbow.
Shadows are from the sun.
Shadows are from the super moon.
Shadows are from the bright stars. Shadows are awesome.
Shadows are funny.
Shadows appear everywhere at one point.
(Written September 2015 at 13-years-old)
“Where Would You Fly” and Other Magical Stories
Welcome to the radiant imagination of Lillian Darnell, a wonderful and unique human being, the kind who comes around only once in every 56,000 births, as she is missing the short arm of her 18th chromosome.
Leave this reality behind and enter enchanted lands awash in mysteries, happy endings, adventures, and inspiration. Come within and discover heartwarming and beautiful tales, woven with love and magic, brought forth from the imagination of a young woman with a different perspective. Lose yourself in wondrous adventures as you follow courageous, enchanting characters, kind animals and plant life, and graceful Mother Nature.
The delightful tales, legends, and poems within these pages were written by Lillian Darnell between the ages of four and fifteen. The stories and poems are mostly edited for spelling and grammar, yet the bulk of the stories remain as she originally wrote and published them to include a few grammatical errors and made up words.
Will a girls dream of becoming a princess come true?
How can sad, mischievous, fearful animals help humans feel emotions?
How did the world come to have color?
“You can’t help but feel happy and be inspired while reading this book. Lillian’s stories jump straight out of her heart and onto the pages in an authentic, innocent, and loving way. The world needs more positivity and happiness and her stories are bursting with both. Thank you Lillian!” -G. Brian Benson – Award-winning and best-selling author, actor and TEDx speaker.
“Let your imagination be taken away with Lillian Darnell’s writings and allow yourself to be transported to places where anything is possible with love, joy and a touch of inspiration. This collection is born from a young woman with a unique perspective on how our world could be – immerse yourself and come, see the world through Lillian’s eyes.” -Dr Veronica Wain – Award winning filmmaker, Academic, Author, Disability Advocate
“Although all of us who love fairies understand that children, with their vivid imaginations, are closer to magic than any of us, we all yearn to retain that childlike sense of wonder. Lillian Darnell’s writings are a welcome reminder of what is possible when you dream big, and accept no limitations.” – Grace Nuth, Senior Editor – Faerie Magazine
About the Author
Lillian Darnell is a Nevada(USA)-based teenager with a significant chromosomal disorder. Darnell’s struggles with communicating led her to begin writing at the age of four specifically to put forth the imaginings and words which could not effectively be articulated with the spoken word. Darnell’s writings share a unique perspective of viewing the world with innocence, joy, and love.
At the age of three, Darnell was delayed in more than three milestones and was referred for in depth blood testing. She was diagnosed with a condition named 18p-; which means she is missing the short arm of chromosome number 18. This condition occurs in 1 of every 56,000 births.
Lillian Darnell is a homeschooled teenager who volunteers at the South Valleys Library once per week. Her book, Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories, was published in January, 2018. The book offers Darnell’s radiant imagination as you leave this reality behind and enter enchanted lands awash in mysteries, happy endings, adventures, and inspiration.
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