*In the interest of introducing our authors, this post is made outside of the regular schedule. Starting June 4th, 2019, please expect a post every other Tuesday.*
post by: Ticana Zhu
Recently, I was asked which book in my childhood left the largest impact on me. Immediately my mind went to exciting ones like Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (Bruce Coville), The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Avi), The Merlin Effect (T.A. Barron) and Homecoming (Cynthia Voigt). Not to mention the American Girls series. Samantha was my favorite, followed closely by Felicity. (By the time Ivy Ling came around, I felt too old to read the series.) Truthfully, I could go on and on. How does anyone, whose childhood comprised of countless hours of reading, pick just ONE?
After a few days of coming back to the question, I discovered there was one story in particular that continued to hold meaning for me. I’d overlooked it at first because it didn’t contain the same level of adventure I grew accustomed to partaking.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince is a story that evolves with me. At each stage of life when I’ve divulged in the tale, it holds a variant meaning. The first time I read it, I giggled at a quirky story, believing it was just some gibberish meant to stretch the imagination. I was quite young then. After all, who doesn’t want to fly off an asteroid with a flock of migrating birds? Sounds like fun!
At another time, I felt pessimistic, as it highlighted the worst in people. How could the Little Prince leave his Rose so simply? Why didn’t they work it out? She NEEDS him! Why did she nag him all the time? And the poor lamplighter! The sick-cycle for the alcoholic! The story induced a bit of anxiety. It was around the time I started to come into my own, and delusions of a perfect world were shattering.
Recently, I picked up the thin volume again. This time, with a few more years under my belt. The tale transformed yet again. It became beautiful, describing love in a way I’d missed before. The fox- who I previously believed was a mere a play-fellow- became my new guru… at least for a couple of days! Through his interactions with the Little Prince, I saw the struggle many of us face whilst attempting to connect in our modern world. With apps like Tinder, we’re all just one of many common roses on the bush. When do we stop and select just one to get to know? Will we judge it for its imperfections, like how it demands a screen because it’s drafty?
Or do we choose to love someone for all the unseen things they share, to better our little corner of the world? (or asteroid) The scent the Rose perfumes on the asteroid was overlooked by the little Prince at first. Could it be representative of love that’s born from sharing a life with someone? They do say that 1+1=3… the sum is greater than the whole… I’ll let you decide.
Then, there’s the serpent in the ending of the the Little Prince. He took him further than any ship could. I’ve felt so many emotions towards the conclusion. Was it romantic that he wished to traverse death to return to his Rose? What if he couldn’t return to his asteroid? Was the Little Prince so far gone, he had only one choice? I’ve also been devastated, believing he would never reunite with his love to share his revelations.
Antoine leaves his ending open to interpretation. Either that or to torture me! In general, I appreciate happy endings. Or ones resolved with hope. I choose to believe the Little Prince made it back to his asteroid, and that his Rose did not perish without him. My hearts needs it.
Returning to the original question, “Which book in your childhood left the most impact on you?” I see now, the answer should’ve been simple. At age thirteen, I began writing a sci-fi story. It was just bits and pieces here and there. However, the main character’s name is Rose Tian. Tian= sky. The secondary protagonist? A boy without a name at the time, but with light hair and light eyes, much like the Little Prince. They spend most of their time on Mars, but their duty is to patrol the asteroid belt. I’ve never let this story go. It’s constantly turning in the back of my mind. When I started the tale,the Little Prince influences were unconscious, as there are other elements to the story as well. It’s only in looking back did I go, “Hey! I think I see a connection…”
I suppose if the question had been, “Which book left the largest impact on your writing?” I would’ve had an answer right away. Rose Tian, preferring to go by “Rosi” is my defiance to the dependency of the Little Prince’s Rose. She’s mobile of course, and a human, but so much more. Rosi rises against a chaotic childhood lived partially on Mars and becomes a leader, Phoenix. Her counterpart, the boy with light eyes, is Dragon. She loses him in many ways. However, like my preferential ending to the Little Prince, they find their way back together. Sometimes even defying death. (Darn you, serpent!)
It’s my sincerest aspiration that the tropes in my tale evolves with readers, finding relevance through different times. I’m still working on Rose Tian and Kayden Loganberry’s story. Yes, I finally gave him a name. With epic adventures, and psychological thrills, I’m hoping the book will release at the end of 2020.
Thank you for reading! Ticana Zhu will have a new post every third Tuesday of the month. Next post on Space-Tigers.com (June 4th, 2019), Ava Reiss explains why she’s a “Chibi Enthusiast!”
This is not a sponsored post.