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Posts Tagged ‘Being Human’

 

Last night I was consumed with creating a children’s story for my new writing group. It was so much fun, writing about newborn dragons and cherries popping in a bowl, I lost all track of time. My tea grew cold and eventually forgotten. It was only 2 inches away from my hands as I typed the story into word and prepared to mail it off. As soon as I hit send, my stomach went queasy. Perhaps one more polish was needed. The doubts crept back.

I got in my car this morning, turned on the radio, and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies were singing. No more doubts. How coincidental is that? But is it really coincidental?

Things like this have been happening to me more and more.

I was in a friend’s car last Thursday, driving toward the market, and I noticed she had a post-it-note with the words, Serendipity, Synchronicity, Coincidence, listed right in front of my passenger seat. I thought back to the Kushtaka, Tahoma and my last blog post and smiled.

Then this morning, on Facebook, a friend posted a link to a news article that immediately took me to a story I wrote many years ago. The images in the article were so similar to my story creation I couldn’t ignore it. So many of these events seem to be happening around me.

Today I looked each of these words up in the dictionary.

Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner. To count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance.

Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. Good fortune; luck: synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together.

Coincidence is something that happens by chance in a surprising or remarkable way. (and all Whovians know you never ignore a coincidence, there is no such thing! Sorry, I’ve been a Doctor Who fan for years.)

As I notice these events more and more occuring in my writing life, the seridipty seems to unfold with greater frequency and in more unusual ways, like the song in the car this morning.

When I pay attention to these moments, it feels like an acknowledgement from my guardian angel or muse or simply from the universe. Thanks for listening. You are moving in the right direction.

So, I’m asking you….are you listening?

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The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.  Barbara Deangelis 

Black River by Mike Hamilton

  

My dream is for my characters to live and breathe on the page. They should be quirky, like the rest of the world. Setting is also an important character. It lives and breathes and speaks by awakening all the senses. Can it also have quirks?! 

  

I started thinking about quirks after reading a post in Cyndi Briggs blog The Sophia Project. In her post, It’s July: Let Your Freak Flag Fly, Cyndi states, “I bet your odd self has it’s own ways of grabbing your attention, of reminding you that for all your trying, there’s a hint of crazy in you that craves some fresh air and freedom.”  

  

 This is exactly what a reader wants in a character. The hero that is tall, handsome and always says the right thing = boring. If the same hero fumbles and spills ketchup on his shirt every time he gets nervous, the reader feels a connection.  

  

Can this be accomplished through setting as well? Can a setting be quirky and odd? 

I’ve been exploring that concept as I write more of my discovery draft. The above photograph, courtesy of Mike Hamilton, is an aerial view of Black River in Renton. This is the place where Tahoma fell from his nest as a heron fledgling and shifted into human form. This alone does not make the place quirky. It is surrounded by the modern-day expansion of a business park, satellite dishes, and a train off in the distance. Something however, is keeping the spot protected. Is it the quirky magic of Black River?  

  

One scene I was writing today has me considering the magic of this place. Tahoma is now in human form and setting off on his adventure. He looks down at his reflection in the Black River, the image reflected back is a heron fledgling. Could the quirk of this place be that your true essence is reflected in these waters? Could the fresh air and freedom in this magical place be a mirror reflecting your true image, not the mask people wear in our day-to-day life?

 

Magic lives and breathes here, if you slow down and take the time to notice it.  

 

 

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My shapeshifting heron, Tahoma, is enjoying his human transformation. I could (and have) filled notebooks with the joy he finds in each new experience. However, when I try to coax him to move the story line forward, he isn’t ready.

When I write, I usually have the beginning hook and the ending scene in mind. Then I follow the trail of bread crumbs as my characters work through the maze of their storyline to ‘the end’.

Tahoma’s final scene in this story is a choice. Does he want to live his life as a human or return to the feathery adventures of a heron on the Black River?  He will meet mentors and have thrilling adventures to help him make this choice and lead him to his conclusion. At the moment, he still has mangos and smoked salmon to taste (and chew), laughter to experience (have you seen a bird laugh?), and he is a teen boy now so inevitably he will want to drive a car as well.

Amazingly, Tahoma hasn’t looked back. He hasn’t questioned the transformation, or climbed the cottonwood to get back into his nest. He hasn’t blamed or judged anything. He lives in the moment, just as a heron would.

I find it intriguing how an imaginary character that lives so vividly in my imagination has so much to teach me about life.

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“I’d like to live like a river flows, surprised by its own unfolding.” John O’Donohue 

~ pondering Tahoma’s human journey 

 Tahoma and I have only been friends for a few weeks now; we are still in the romance stage of our relationship. At the moment, I’m interested in every little thing he does. I know as I write his story there will be conflict and dark moments that define good literature, but for now, I’m happy in the romance stage. 

 He began his life in the canopy of cottonwoods over a river. He had a big brother that bullied him and tried to teach him his rank in the nest. Eagles were always a threat but he knew that on instinct. He was majestic and graceful and could literally soar through the air. 

Life in the canopy

 

Being human, however, is something new to him. 

He is still light and agile on his feet, but often forgets he is anchored in a human body. He stumbles as he adjusts to this new existence. His fight or FLIGHT reaction will be tested. 

Teeth! Now there is a challenge. No one human was born with teeth and had to learn to speak and chew to thrive in the world immediately, so he may bite his tongue often in the beginning. Chewing his food will be new. 

These are the physical adjustments to a human body my little Tahoma will be living with. What about the cognitive and emotional adjustments? Birds and other animals live in the moment. They don’t fret over the past or plot a retirement plan. I’m very curious to see if this human issue will infect his thinking. 

Then there is the teen issue. Fasten your seatbelts….

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