post written by: Marc Chernoff

When Fairy Tale Characters Come
To Life

Fairy Tale Characters Come To Life

This morning I was writing at my favorite coffee shop when a cute Latin woman with big, bright eyes and rosy cheeks sat down at the table across from me.  She pulled a sketch book out of her backpack and began looking around the room.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her look in my direction, study my posture, smile, and begin sketching.

We sat there next to each other for nearly three hours while she sketched and I wrote.  And as I shifted back and forth, engrossed in thought, I felt a bit self-conscious.  Because I could feel her watching me as she practiced her art.

But I wasn’t too worried because I hadn’t planned on talking to her.  After all, she seemed completely satisfied sketching in silence, and smiling at her sketches and at all of the other people who surrounded us.  I did, however, glance up a few times just to see her smile.  Because her smile expressed a kind of passion I seldom see.

All of the World’s Beauty

A few moments later another customer came into the coffee shop and let a gust of wind in the front door.  The wind blew a completed sketch right off of the Latin woman’s table and onto the floor in front of me.  The sketch was rather amazing.  It perfectly depicted a man who looked a lot like me typing on a laptop computer.

I looked up at the Latin woman and smiled.  “Who’s that sharp-looking guy?”

She giggled and rolled her eyes.  “I don’t know,” she replied.  “He’s just a fairy tale character.”  She then handed me a few of the other sketches she’d been working on.  One of them was of the barista behind the cash register and the others were of other customers in the coffee shop.

“Wow!” I exclaimed.

She sighed, smiled, and said, “Sometimes I wish that I could capture all of the world’s beauty in my sketches, but I’ve come to realize that it’s simply impossible. So capturing still-frames of beautiful moments is what I settle for.”

I told her that all of the world’s beauty actually is captured in every sketch that perceives a moment just as beautiful.  And that her sketches are truly beautiful, just like her smile… because they reveal a gift and a passion to see beauty in common places – a beauty most of us overlook.

Time Ceases

She giggled again and said, “My mother once told me that beauty occurs when time ceases to exist.  And if she’s right, then perhaps my sketches are beautiful.  Because, for me, time ceases when I try to bridge my perceptions with the moments unfolding around me.”

I chuckled aloud and then turned my laptop around so that she could read the words I had written just moments before: “Time ceases to exist when she engages in this moment, because she wants nothing more than the beauty this moment has to offer.”

“Who is she?” she asked.

“She’s just a fairy tale character others will read about… and metaphor for hope to me,” I replied with a wink.

She winked back, as if to prove that she wasn’t just a metaphor.  And before I could even smile, I suddenly sneezed.  She laughed and told me that for just a moment in mid-sneeze I looked like Tarzan, and asked if I could hold that pose so she could sketch me looking like Tarzan.

I told her that I didn’t mind holding a mid-sneeze pose for a few minutes.  Because as she sketched, I got a chance to see the look in her eyes.  You know the look I’m talking about… it’s the look when beauty is perceived, time ceases to exist, and fairy tale characters come to life.

Download the ebook If you enjoyed this article, check out our new best-selling book.
Marc and Angel Subscription via Email And get inspiring life tips and quotes in your inbox (it's free)...

Enter your email address to get new articles delivered for free:


  • Hey Marc.

    If this isn’t a real-life story that connects and loops back to itself real smoothly, I don’t know what is.

    This was cool to read, and it presents a high-level communication that we don’t see happen often. It is also simple at the same time, in that each of you were creating material about the other person.

    Most people miss these opportunities because they are not relaxed, or don’t look much at others, or are too focused on their own task, but your demeanor lets you get more out of what is already there.

    We are the characters in the fairy tale we keep adding to.

  • Nice story. I like people who are able to see the beauty in things on not take it for granted. Cause most of us end up taking it for granted. This is how you create a society of people who have sooo much yet cannot be happy and crave for more.


  • I always love your stories, Tarzan… ooops I mean Marc! You know what it reminds me of? I don’t know if you or anyone else has seen Star Trek Insurrection. That race of people who don’t get older and how they appreciate the moments. There’s the one scene of that woman with Jean Luc Picard and the hummingbird in slow motion. That scene has always stuck with me and somehow this story reminded me of that.

  • Great post! And I love the picture… I used that for one of my posts too and it’s such a beautiful one!

  • Lovely. Thank you.

  • Marc, those moments are priceless. A real treasure.

  • Nice post on ceasing time. It’s crazy how random things in life happen and if we just sit still and let them unfold, we can really be fully aware and appreciative of each moment that passes us by.

  • Oh yes… and so it is… beautiful.

  • An absolutely beautiful fairy tale filled with so much passion. Thank You!

  • Absolutely, phenomenally beautiful. THANK YOU FOR THIS.

    You captured it perfectly with words.

    A fan,


  • This leaves me thinking about how much we all really miss out on in life. Just a simple smile across a crowded room is worth appreciating. A single person really can make a difference in just a split second.

  • I’ve always wished I had cool stories like this…. Maybe someday. Or else I just need to get out of the house for writing instead. :) Really enjoyed it!

  • Man, i can read through this and not feel the time pass. It’s great to have this type of writing around, to get away from the geeky stuff i read most of the time. It’s so enjoyable and fun. Keep it up.

  • Beautiful! Every moment is a gift, all you have to do is see it!

  • What a beautiful moment, full of creativity and some of the subtler, often overlooked, simple, easy yet deeply meaningful connections in life.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Miche :)

  • You are such a wonderful writer, Marc. This story was great. And I even got a hearty laugh while picturing you mid-sneeze.

  • Oh my gosh…what a beautiful story about timeless awareness captured in the moment of now! Stumbled, tweeted and reddited.

  • Love this story. Without a doubt we should not take anything for granted, although many of us do. Life is now, and it can end in any moment. Cherish it.

    Thanks for the great post!


  • Positive drama, portraying two characters who encounter each other and don’t want to market or get anything from each other, but simply be there and share the appreciation and sanctity of the present moment.

    The drama is built up because without talking, there is significant communication going on, and then they do dialogue and we expect them to understand each other. That understanding and sharing is a universal literary theme, and it is therapeutic for the reader to share their connection.

    Great writing - I enjoyed it.

  • @All:

    Thanks so much for the positive feedback. I truly enjoy reading your comments.

    I hope you all have a wonderful week!


  • I never know whether your stories are true or not, but I really don’t care. I loved it!

  • Marc,

    You have a gift for writing great stories, and also a very secure wife it seems. ;-) A healthy combination.

    You should write a novel.

  • I haven’t read all your stories yet, but I love most of the ones I have read. Your writing is perfect! I always tweet them. I wish I could have this ability of expressing myself too.

    A fan from PH,


  • Marc,
    I loved this story. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  • Hi,
    There are many moments that I would like “frozen in time” that I would like to savor, just as the sketcher was doing in her work.


  • I love the poetry behind this story. I could see every detail. You have a gift for telling stories. Every time I come here I’m always ready to be wowed.

    Like Bob said there are so many moments that I would love to have frozen. I think that living in the present moment helps me do just that.

  • It’s a beutiful story to read this morning. =)
    Thanks for that.

  • Beautiful :)

  • Simple, beautiful, inspiring.
    You’re such a wonderful story teller!

  • Seraphina Knightmare
    September 3rd, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    This is a beautiful piece of work.
    The picture is lovely. I do hope to read more.

  • I think I might need to print this out and frame it. I found it because of the picture, because it’s how I feel when I’m drifting off to sleep. And then I saw the article. =) Amazing.

  • I wish I can tell you face to face how beautifully you write! And I hope I will read more stories like this in future from you. :)

Leave a Reply