Friday, April 12, 2013


At a Saturday writing workshop I asked participants to write on the topic, “I Am a Changeling.”

In the ancient stories, fairies or wicked spirits would steal a couple’s baby and replace it with a different one, sometimes one of theirs. Until fairly recent times in Ireland and Scotland, parents believed this to be an explanation for why a child was mentally ill, disabled, or a poor fit in the family.

Because writers often feel like misfits, I thought a group of them could have fun with the topic. But I had misgivings, too, and wondered if some in the class might have trouble relating to the subject.

I was surprised that about a third of the participants chose to write about how they were, in fact, actual changelings. They felt like they had never belonged in their families. The rest of the writers had stories of their own about being out-of-place in the world.

Truth be told, most of us probably feel like we don’t exactly fit in. Trying to fit costs us a great deal in energy.

That gives the time we spend apart importance. When we’re alone, we can be our authentic selves. When we’re alone, we can be easy with who that is.  

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