The Day to make change

Freedom Alumnus David Kiefer writes short story on anxiety


David Kiefer is shown holding his book The Day. The cover illustrates the main character, Simon the squirrel, collecting nuts in a forest.

Sam Covalt and Mason Hedge

    Today, in this world, people’s reasons to want to run and hide are growing. With all the violence, poverty, politics, uncertainties and more, it can be overwhelming. But people must learn to confront their problems and make a change happen in their lives, even on the smaller scale.

    Not so long ago, while studying art at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, FHS graduate David Kiefer wrote and illustrated “The Day: A Short Story about Anxiety.” In the story, Simon the squirrel, whose food supply is diminished, knows he needs to go out from the safety of his network of tunnels in the ground to look for food. However, going out into the world means almost certain death, for out there lurks “the creature,” a fox. Everyday, “[Simon] lives in fear and worry,” knowing that if he leaves his tunnel, he may very well die. But even so, one day the fox catches him by surprise and that day is the day Simon makes a very important change in his life.

In this book lies deep meaning for everyone; it is not just a children’s book.

“This story leaves the reader hopeful. Anxiety can be an obstacle on the path to a successfully happy life. Simon wants to see change in his life and so he searches for a way to overcome his obstacles. He learns the way to begin living his life without anxiety hindering it,” David Kiefer writes in a note to the reader.

    David Kiefer was compelled to write “The Day” because he felt that it was important to bring up the subject of anxiety for the sake of other people.

“It’s also a complicated topic, so I wanted to try to make a book that could serve as a starting point for a conversation between a child and an adult,” David Kiefer said.

Now that the book is out, David Kiefer could not be more pleased.

“I am pretty happy with the end result of the book,” he stated. “I am very excited to have it finally completed and available for people. I am excited to hear what people think about it as more people hopefully get the chance to read it.”

    David’s sisters, Meghan Kiefer and Madeline Kiefer, read the book as well. Even though they both stated that they were out of the intended audience, they both agree that his degree of success after the publication was immense.

“David has come very far since publishing,” Meghan Kiefer said. “He has worked for a long time on this book, and to finally have it available to purchase via Amazon has been a huge success and culmination of his dedication of time and energy.”

    Because the book was only recently published around August, David Kiefer has not received much feedback. That means that not only will reading the book help others get through stressful situations, but it will also help give David Kiefer the credit he deserves.

However, from the little feedback he has received, many people have told him that the metaphor of the story was helpful.

“I am certainly hoping that I will gradually hear feedback from more people…This book was my first project at this scale and I really hope it is the first of many,” David Kiefer said.