I recently received a wonderful surprise from a reader friend, who is the work-at-home father of an 8-year-old. He wrote to me to let me know how much he and his son had enjoyed Musiville, asking me that I share his story on my blog as a guest post. I hope you enjoy his story as much as I did!
Since Father’s Day is just around the corner, he has inspired me to give away Musiville between the 13th and the 18th in the hope that more fathers can enjoy reading it with their little girls and boys. So, unless you prefer the print version, you may wish to wait for a couple of days and get it for free!
Musiville: A Reader’s Tale
Being a work-at-home dad has lots of perks. The best one for me is the time I spend with my 8-years-old son after school and before his mom comes home after her (theoretical) 9-to-5 working hours. It’s our little privilege to lie on the sofa together, watching cartoons or reading a book, after a full morning of school or working online. We chat, we take a nap, we laugh, we enjoy our “man to man” time.
First, a confession: I am a sci-fi fan, and one of my favorite authors is N. C. Rossis. Last week, as I was ordering one of his short stories books, I realized he writes children books, too. A sci-fi guy who writes for kids – that caught my attention, so I ordered Musiville to read with my son.
The package arrived last Tuesday, and we opened it together and went through the pages. It’s a story about all sorts of bugs and animals who have evolved into musical instruments and live in Musiville. They all play their own tunes until the noise becomes unbearable to the point that Musiville starts falling apart. Loving music and their town, their only choice is to create an orchestra and play harmoniously together. The book is illustrated with sketched animals, quite boyish in fact, a little sci-fi influenced maybe. A children book with mutant animals and monster-like illustrations? You bet we’d love this one!
And we loved it. We really did. We did so to embarrassment.
You see, we were laughing so much pretending to be a trumpephant (part trumpet, part elephant) that we failed to hear my wife’s key at the door. We failed to see her walk cautiously in the living room and look at us with big, surprised eyes. We failed to hear her handbag crash with a bang on the floor. When we understood she was there, it was too late… She had already taken a good look at what she was never supposed to see.
That is me, standing on the coffee table, in a karate-kid-like position, perched on one foot, arms wide open like wings, holding a wooden spoon in each hand, clicking them and chanting “I am a Pelecanophone”. Our son was rolling on the sofa, trying to catch his breath from laughing.
She had such a look on her face, between laughter and scold, that I think I turned as red as a tomato. Truth is, I rather felt like a child caught stealing cookies from the jar. I got off the coffee table as my son did a beeline towards her, his hands cupped in front of his mouth, booing “Mom, mom, look, I’m a trumpephant!”
Before she could even ask what a “pelecanophone” or a “trumpephant” meant, I handed her the book. I had to explain then that we loved the story so much that we decided to impersonate our favorite characters. So when she got home, I was trying my best with the pelecanophone, a mutant pelican turned xylophone.
That night, after our son got to bed, she stood at the study door, arms crossed over her chest, a funny look in her eyes. It was time for a delayed scold, I thought. I had my mea culpa ready. Yes, I knew I was not supposed to climb on the coffee table. Yes, I also knew that I could have tried to discuss the power of teamwork as seen in Musiville instead of destroying the living room furniture. Yes, we should have done homework instead of…
You can imagine my surprise when she said: “Will you do that pelecanophone thing again? You’re a natural, you know!”