The Next Great American Mystery Novel with No Mystery!

Now that COVID is sort of under control here in MA (I had a photo shoot with a BMC doctor last week and he said they have less than ten patients!), we Bigs are allowed to visit with our Littles in person, but at a distance. Little and I hung out at park walking distance from her home (because she’s not allowed in my car per BBBS rules). I brought along the game Connect Four, which was easy to play in a distanced way, and I also brought along some paddles and a little koosh ball so we could feel bad about our lack coordination but laugh a lot at our tennis-inspired grunt-filled volleying techniques. It felt good to move around.

Prior to July, it was Big Brother Big Sister policy that Bigs and Littles keep their outings virtual. I struggled to figure out what the two of us could do together while on the phone FaceTiming. Online games didn’t really work. I asked her if she would like to write a story and she liked that idea.

So for about four visits we worked together over FaceTime and wrote a little story which she entitled “The Mystery of the Golden-Haired Kids”. This title amuses me to no end because we never got around to really explaining why some of the characters had actual gold hair. And there was no mystery to this weird gold hair. It was a whimsical suggestion I planted into the storyline in an effort to add levity to the kidnapping story line which could have gotten very dark without it.

I know, you’re intrigued, right?

So it was fun and I was so impressed with her ability to focus on the story-creating for at least forty minutes at a time considering this was not being done in person. When she got stumped on where the story would go, I would Choose Your Own Adventure it, “Well, your character could do X, or they could do Y, or if you have another idea we could play off that!”


So to get her to be a bit more descriptive, “OK, how do you think this character feels about the fact that they are about to do X?”

You get the idea.

In early July we were able to connect in person, distanced, and we used that time to work on illustrations for the book. And during this last visit we finished them up!

Then I put the words and art together and viola – the kid’s published!

Sort of.

You are under zero obligation to actually read it, but here it is! I didn’t save the cover on which there was author and illustration credit and the title, but these pages contain titled chapters, the the titles at the top but no numbers;

(Obviously I had some input on what the dog’s name should be)

I do feel that I’ve got the hang of our limited outings at this point. Next time, I’ll borrow a lawn game from friends and pack up a lunch. I usually bring a pizza but I’m getting bored of that and also it’s a billion degrees in the Boston area right now! I recently came across chalk spray paint and of course I had to have it. Maybe we’ll “graffiti” the nearby school’s parking lot?

Or not.

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