Last night I was what you might call, a frustrated night owl. I flattened the candle, hoping to finish the first draft of my latest book. I worked until my eyes refused to focus and my butt hurt from sitting so long and still I pushed on. Although I was fairly pleased with the results, my story remained sadly incomplete. Oh, I knew the ending I wanted to attain; I just wasn’t sure which road to take to get it there. Somewhere around midnight, I started questioning my sanity, something I do far too often when I’m struggling with my writing. Provocative thoughts like why hadn’t I ever thought of making this book into a series sprang to life. Was it too late? Did I need to start over? Expand my characters? Was this book going to be a thrilling finale, or a brilliant beginning?
And then it happened; I got stuck in my own head and couldn’t get out! I felt like all of my imaginative juices had inexplicably dried up and I started freaking out. I mean like walking the floors, talking to myself freaking out. I have been working on this one story for such a long time as a seed of an idea finally grew into an actual story with characters, a setting and a plot I really like a lot. So getting stuck now made no sense at all and struggling any further seemed pointless, so I did what every unsure writer does – I went to bed.
The next morning found me in a fog, no closer to finding the clarity I needed to continue and with little desire to get to work. My only option was to strap on my headphones and my tennis shoes and head out for a long walk. Trying to pump a dry well of creativity is futile and adding in fatigue from a restless night just made things worse. Listening to the strains of Vivaldi, my mind blank, I wandered up and down the hills in search of who knew what. And then I found what I hadn’t realized I’d even been looking for; a trigger of inspiration.
I saw the faded paper sign hanging off an old tree that was a ways off the walking trail and swimming in a sea of ivy and I almost walked right past it. Fortunately, something fateful drew me back to the tall Eucalyptus tree and the modeled piece of white paper tied around its trunk. The words Lost & Found were barely visible, written in faded black marker pen. Some of the letters were transparent, bleached by the sun or washed away by the heavy ocean dew, proof that the announcement had hung there for a while at least. What made the sign even more unusual was the pair of glasses, reading glasses I’d guess, sticking through two paper punched holes, just waiting for a passerby to notice.
At first, I walked away smiling at the strange sight. But my curiosity soon got the better of me and I found myself returning for a second peek. Looking at the tortoise shelled frames, I wondered, had an older gentleman dropped them? They looked like a man’s pair of glasses to me. How was he coping with the loss? Was his wife nagging him to stop complaining and go to the drugstore to pick up another pair or had he silently battled his inability to read without his plastic framed friends? And what lovely person had discovered the glasses and then gone to all the effort to create a sign, attach the glasses and post it where walkers might see?
Within moments my synapses were on fire, creating a scenario for a story I couldn’t wait to get home and write. I was humming with excitement and ready to go. My creativity was back and I silently thanked the angel who had put that sign in my way. It took me another thirty minutes for me to walk home and without even realizing that I had, I created the conclusion for my other book, the one I had been struggling with before my morning walk. Those glasses clarified my options and offered me the vision I needed to complete my story without ever leaving the tree.
I think I’ll take a walk past the Eucalyptus tree tomorrow to see if anyone has claimed the lenses. Or better yet, I think I’ll start chapter two of my next story, The Sightless Stranger about a man who lost his way.
Stay Healthy and Happy!
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