The moments that stay with you

September 29, 2016 Writing  No comments

It’s funny, the moments that mark you, stay with you, without you even realizing it at the time.

And when you’re a writer, those moments, often make it into your work. Mostly out of a need to understand them, form them into some kind of coherent meaning. Sometimes just to commemorate them, remember them, write them down. These are two of the moments from my life that made it into Running to Stand Still

 

The sky, an open wilderness above me, took my breath away.
The scene where Collin takes Jamie out onto the ice in Chapter 16. 

I don’t remember at which point in the drafting process I added this scene—I think it was during the second draft. I know for sure it wasn’t there in the first—but I remember that when I wrote it, the memory of being out on the ice on Lake St. Clair behind that VFW hall all those years ago came crashing out of the sky and pierced through me with amazing clarity. I’d almost entirely forgotten about that day on the ice. I’d never even shared that memory with anyone before, but all of a sudden—in one of those glorious flashes of artistic inspiration and intuition—I knew that it had to be a part of the story–that it was a part of the story. And that of course, Collin would have been there before and that he would take her there.

 

The universe was opening up before me
Chapter 51

Leaving is a complicated thing. All those strands that hold you to a place—some thin and weak and pliable, some thick and strong and unyielding as an iron rod—they tug at first, not wanting you to leave. And it’s the pressure of the pulling that makes it so hard to break away.  
        But once you do leave—turn the first corner, pass the first exit on the highway—those golden glowing strings either start to snap, or bend, or fade into invisible threads that do nothing more than weave your past together. And before you know it, you can’t even feel them anymore. They no longer bind you. 
       With each passing mile—the more distance I put between where I was from and where I was going—I felt lighter. Cleaner. The shackles were falling off.
       A burst of warmth expanded inside my chest five hours later as I entered the Chicago city limits. It felt like the universe was opening up before me.

This is exactly how I felt when I spent three winter months in Wilmington, North Carolina with my husband and our pet crew. And then, when we made the decision to move to Charleston, South Carolina. And how I still feel when I drive across one of the many bridges in this city with the sunshine gleaming down on the water beneath. 

 

Until next time, farewell & may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity.

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