Category Archives: Thicket Stars

This Moment Changes Everything

I was a little stuck yesterday. Writing the last pages of Thicket Stars, I still hadn’t decided if I was going to let this family break, or keep it together. Neither one felt right, to be honest. I didn’t want a happy ending tied up with a pretty bow, but the evolution of my characters didn’t ring true with abandoning one another either.

Instead of forcing this key moment, I closed out early in the hopes a bit of simmering would work it out. The brain never turns off. I forget what ingredient I’m going to the pantry for between knowing I need it and arriving at the shelves; when it comes to story, my brain is a steel trap…that’s not aware it’s set and ready to spring, but that’s beside the point.

Last night, watching So You Think You Can Dance, Taylor and Robert danced to Change is Everything.  The dancers fight being together, and breaking apart. Absolutely gorgeous, choreographed by Travis Wall to an a capella version of the song. And my brain, ever-working, snapped its spring.

This moment changes everything
The course of blood within your veins
A stranger’s form, your skeleton
See the bones glow as they break free

Long, long and long ago, I was twenty-one, pregnant with my second child, and married to a man who was finding life with a wife and child, a job and another baby on the way terrifying. Claustrophobic. He was constantly battling with his love for us, and his need to fly. It manifested in too many scary nights, wondering when I’d get the call from the morgue. One day, I sat down with him and said, “I can’t do this anymore. Go. Do what you need to. I’ll be here when you’re done.”

That moment changed everything.

He didn’t go. He cried. He told me he couldn’t leave me and our daughter, the baby on the way. He loved us too much. That week was the happiest we’d had in too long. He seemed…good. Happy. At peace.

And then he was gone. Motorcycle accident. Just like that. A week later.  Another moment of change. Isn’t that what life is? A series of those moments.

It all came together last night, listening to that song, watching the push and pull of the dancers, remembering that conversation with Brian. I won’t speak for all writers, but I have no hang-ups about laying it out there on the page, all the gore and the glory of my life, for all to see. Call me an exhibitionist. It’s how I deal. It’s how I make my stories authentic and, I hope, touch my readers.

This moment changes everything. That really is the key to the climax of this story, the answer to the question: Do they break? Or do they heal? I know now. I just wrote it. Well, most of it. You’ll have to wait a while though.





Filed under Thicket Stars, Writing is Life

Morning Thoughts

My head tends to be a bit crowded in the morning, when I first wake up. I made the note in my little “line a day” journal this morning, that it’s no wonder I write. If I didn’t, where would all those thoughts go?

This morning, the thoughts in my head wandered to a story I’m excited to get to, tentatively titled The Empty Spaces. Briefly:

Bonnie-Jane dashes out of the woods behind the farmhouse where she grew up, sweating and out of breath and knowing two things: One, she’s late and mama’s going to be mad; and two, she has to get there before her baby wakes up from her nap. When she gets home, the baby is thirteen, her mother has died, and Bonnie-Jane has been missing for eleven years. 

I know where she’s been, and I know the whimsical why and how that came about, but the hard facts of what happened to cause the initial vanishing have eluded me. It came to me this morning, in a round-about way. The story isn’t what happened, it’s about what happens next.

Since Chris died, there is a definite theme in my writing–the Unanswered Question. A Thousand Different Ways, Entangled, Heroically Lost, and next The Empty Spaces all have that element to some degree. By the end of the book/s, the unanswered question is still unanswered. You have plenty of information to decide for yourself; that’s where I leave it. And I didn’t consciously realize this, and the connection to Christofer’s death, until this morning.

Life is full of unanswered questions, things we have to decide for ourselves to the best of our ability, and let go. We can see with our eyes, know in our hearts, but hard and definite answers are still elusive. Perspectives differ. Memories are more about the person remembering than the actual facts. Heartfelt, gut instinct is rife with the trap doors of our pasts. Comparatively, there are few absolutes, and we are left with our best guesses.

I think I’m good with the Unanswered Questions. At least, I know better than to bang my head too hard against that wall. There comes a time when you have to make your best guess, accept that there’s no way to 100% know and be okay with it.

Maybe I’m getting there. Maybe I’m still trying. And I’m okay with that.





Filed under Life's honest moments, Thicket Stars