Behind the Story: "The One-Woman Band"

by Ryan Johnson October 13, 2018

The heroine of this story is a quiet, poor, solitary, hard-working washerwoman. One day, a spark in her heart is lit when she discovers an abandoned accordion. Can she learn how to play her instrument? Will others appreciate her music?

Let me take you behind the story of the funniest story in my collection of audio stories for children: Wonder Stories.

"The One Woman Band" - a children's story from Cora Stories
Click here to listen to "The One Woman Band"

Behind the Story: "The One Woman Band"

One of the joys of writing -- and listening to -- a story is discovering the surprises along the way. It's not knowing what will happen next. Or it's thinking you know what will happen, only to have something unexpected (but believable) pop up.

"The One Woman Band" is filled, quite naturally, with these surprises.

How does the woman find each of her instruments? (Can each of these scenes get bigger and funnier?)

How does the town react each time she plays her music? (How do these scenes pay off?)

Does she get better as a musician? (How does she do it?)

"The One Woman Band" was the last story in the Wonder Stories collection that I wrote and recorded. One of my favorite surprises was, in looking back, discovering a quiet but recurring theme running through all of my stories: the value of practice and hard work.

Call it grit.

The protagonist in every story -- Maria the dancing girl, Amelia the flying mouse, Cirrus the joyful cloud, the steady donkey...and finally the determined one-woman band -- all of them stay committed to their goals even when things get hard.

But of all these characters, the washerwoman from "The One Woman Band" remains the most joyful in the face of inevitable setbacks. Maybe it's because she's more interested in sharing than in achieving. That just might be why this story is one of my favorites.

You can listen to it here. I hope you enjoy it.


Ryan Johnson
Ryan Johnson


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