Portrait of the Junebird by Alan Powell
Portrait of the Junebird by Alan Powell

The Origin of the Flying Banana Peel

My travel writing class went on an excursion to Tony’s costume shop. From the outside, it didn’t look like anything special, just an old barn with flaking red wood and a creaky door.

Once we walked inside, however, was saw that there was more to the place than its rustic exterior. Costume upon costume lined racks, filling every inch of the two-story building with assorted colors and fabrics.

We could have spent hours wandering the rows of clothing and still not have seen all there was to see. But we couldn’t browse all day. We had a mission. Our goal was to create costumes, have our pictures taken in them, and create characters based on the costumes to write about later.

It was extremely cold in the barn, and my toes quickly grew numb, but eventually my classmates and I eventually all emerged dressed in one ridiculous outfit or another. From bunny suits to Victorian attire, the barn had it all. While it was difficult to navigate the dusty racks in the frigid air, it was fun to riffle through such history and to begin thinking of narratives for the characters we were creating.

After combing through the costumes for a while, I grabbed various yellow fabrics and was soon dressed. Later, when I was in my dorm thinking about what my costume was depicting, I remembered walking out of the barn and hearing my classmates say I looked like a dandelion or a banana. I thought I resembled more of a bird. I also remembered my professor saying that the more ridiculous our characters were, the better. Thus, the Junebird was born:

A Junebird is an enchanted flying banana peel. Legend has it that the banana peel had been slipped on so much and been airborne so many times that eventually it learned how to fly. Flying is a tricky business with no wings, but after flying so low in some nearby sunflower fields, the banana peel accumulated enough petals and leaves to be able to fly with proper wings. Such a transformation occurred in the month of June and thus the banana bird became the Junebird known today.

While travel writing mixes personal experience and facts about the destination, it’s also about being creative and thinking outside the box to produce a piece of work that’s entertaining. We all had a great time, and the characters we were able to create were certainly diverse, funny, and downright ridiculous.

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