‘It was Lindy. She was helping my dad wash his car.’
Illustration by Kristin Trayer, 11, for “Lindy'” by Ari Rubin, 11.
Published in Stone Soup, May/June 1993 and The Stone Soup Book of Friendship Stories, 2018.
A Note from Jane Levi
Writers are always looking for advice and ideas about how to make their writing better. One piece of advice I’ve heard and read often is “show, don’t tell.” I understood the general idea that it’s more powerful to reveal things to the reader through action and dialogue, instead of listing and explaining all the underlying thoughts and feelings in the order they happen. But I’ve sometimes worried that this approach might make my writing a bit too flowery or overly descriptive. Then, when I was working on the revised version of The Stone Soup Book of Friendship Stories, I read this week’s story: “Lindy.” This story was written by 11-year-old Ari Rubin and published in Stone Soup 26 years ago! Suddenly, reading this apparently simple and sparingly told story, “show, don’t tell” made a lot more sense.
The whole story is “told” to us by a strong narrator’s voice. But he doesn’t explicitly tell us the real story underneath the story. He shows us the various events as they happened to him, so that—like him—we don’t understand Lindy’s bigger story until the very end. Then, we notice all the hints dropped along the way. We see the journey the narrator has been on, and how he got to where he is now in terms of his feelings about Lindy. This approach makes you want to read the story again. And then you see that the clues were there, cleverly laced in to the narrative.
I love this story. It makes me cry every time I read it. But don’t let that put you off! It might just be me being sentimental! I am sure that however your emotions respond to “Lindy,” you’ll be excited to see how the author brilliantly controls what he shows us, what he tells us, how, and when, to make a complex emotional tale so simple and matter-of-fact.
If you read something you love in Stone Soup, then do write and tell us about it, or leave a comment on our website. And, of course, if you are inspired by “Lindy” (or anything else in Stone Soup) to write or make something you want to share, please send that to us too!
Until next time,
Contests and partnership news
Congratulations to our podcast contest winners!
This week we announced the winners in our writing for podcast contest. Congratulations to Olivia Park, 12 (1st place), Claire Nagle, 12 (2nd Place), Tara Prakash, 12 (3rd place), and our two honorable mentions: Gemma Yin, 11, and Sabrina Guo, 13. You can read more about the winners and their prizes here.
Announcing our Summer Book-Writing Contest
We are thrilled to announce a summer contest for book-length writing in all forms and genres by kids aged 14 and under. (We have extended our usual age limit for this contest). The deadline for entries is August 15, so you have the whole summer to work on perfecting your book, whether it is a novel, a collection of poetry or short stories, a memoir, or other prose. There will be three placed winners, and we will publish all three winning books in various forms. Visit our contest page and Submittable entry page for full details.
Highlights from the past week online
Don’t miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com.
Abhi, one of our frequent contributors, recently won a national award for his short film. We’ve published it on our YouTube channel and featured it on our blog. The short film is called “An Unusual Sunday.” Watch it here.
On Thursday we published a piece by blogger Maya Viswanathan called “My Fancy Cake.” Maya describes the experience of designing the cake for her Bat Mitzvah. Should she go with her gut feeling about the colors for the cake, or follow the advice of others? To find out, read her piece.
From Stone Soup
By Ari Rubin, 11
Illustrated by Kristin Trayer, 11
I used to cringe each time our doorbell rang. Nine times out of ten the person on the other side of the door was Lindy, the girl from a few houses down the street.
“Can you play today?” she’d ask.
“No, I’m doing homework,” I’d say, even if I wasn’t.
“Can I help your mom with the baby?” she would ask next.
Before I could say no, there was my mom inviting her inside again.
“Where’s the baby?” Lindy asked. She asked that same question every time she walked inside the house. And the answer was always the same.
“He’s in the family room,” my mom would say, smiling as she watched me silently mouthing the words along with her.
My baby brother, Kelly, liked Lindy. He liked her a little too much, if you asked me. He’d squeal and laugh when she made silly faces at him or tickled his feet. To make matters worse, whenever Lindy played with Kelly, she’d take out every one of his toys. You can guess who would have to put them away later on.
While she was busy with Kelly and my mom, I’d sneak out of the room. But no matter where I went, Lindy soon found me. It was as though she had radar. “I’m bored,” she’d say.
Why don’t you go home, then? I thought to myself, but I never could say it out loud.
Most of the time she would just stand there and stare at me until I asked her to play Nintendo. She would talk and talk all through the game, especially when it was my turn to play. She talked so much that it ruined my concentration. I lost a lot of lives that way.
If she had not been such a pest, I might have liked her visits. After all, she was quite pretty. And she always let me be the first person to sign her casts. Usually 10-year-old girls like flowers and silly stuff like that, but Lindy thought my pictures of black widow spiders were pretty cool.
I remember drawing my first spider. That was the day I met Lindy. I had wanted to bring some interesting insects to school the next day but found only two sow bugs in my own yard, and one of them was dead. I put both of them in a shoebox. I decided the pickings had to be better around the neighborhood. Instead, I was the one who got picked.
“Hey, boy with the glasses, what are you doing?” Lindy yelled.
“Looking for bugs. Got any good ones?” I answered even before I spotted her sitting on her front step.
“I don’t know. We just moved here last week,” said Lindy. “I’ll help you find some bugs, but first you have to sign my leg cast.” . . . /more
Stone Soup’s advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.