Monday, August 20, 2007


I'm hovering. In my novel progress, not in the room. It's not because of writer's block or anything that romantic. It's because I have an emotional scene to write next, and I couldn't get the right emotion to well up for inspiration. Until today.

I believe in serendipity. I believe in doors opening at the right time, people coming into your life when there is something to be gained or lost, lessons given freely if we would only sit still and open our eyes and our minds. This is the faith by which I write.

If I am stuck, If I am drowning, if I am in need of a direction, I sit still, I wait, I watch...I hover. Always, without fail, I am eventually shown something, taught something, given something that is exactly what I need. Maybe this is true in every aspect of life. I have experienced this only with my writing, but who knows...

Anyway, the scene I was stalled at was one where my main character has to let go of a girl that has become like a daughter to her. My problem here was goodbye has never been hard for me. I don't look back, I don't mourn the fact I thrive on change. Or so, I thought. One thing about children is they will show you exactly how wrong you are about yourself.

This is the lesson I learned today, this is the lesson that has given me the exact emotional response I need to go forward with my next scene. Today I went with my daughter to our first college tour. Not exactly a lesson in letting go, right? That's what I thought.


The tour was great--beautiful campus, exciting prospect. The future was wide open, bright and smiling on us. When the tour was over, she went to eat lunch with a friend instead of riding home with me. Here's the serendipity part.

I'm sitting at the traffic light to go straight and her and her friend pass me and make a left at the light. Before they make the turn, her arm emerges from the passenger window and she waves. A small gesture. A familiar arm, a hand I have bathed, and held and watched grow into a younger version of my own. But it wasn't just a "see you later" wave. It was a moment in slow motion, a glimpse at the reality of letting go. It was a message as clear as if she had whispered it in my ear.

"Yes, Mom, I am a separate person. I am my own being, with my own destiny which will be different from yours, but in my grace I am acknowledging you and the fact that I am leaving you behind."

So, in that one surreal, stripped down moment, I have been given my emotional response. I have experienced the pain and beauty which exists in the moment of a child's goodbye.

I have found the broken heart and hope from which my main character will now experience the next part of her journey.


B.E. Sanderson said...

Heh. I hear ya there. I never thought I'd be one of those clingy type mothers, but recently I've found the letting-go thing especially hard. You see, my teenage daughter will be taking her first plane trip, and vacationing without me at her grandmother's for two weeks. Day in and day out for the past two and half years we've been joined at the hip. (I homeschool.) We're very rarely more than a house length apart. In a week and half we'll be 1500 miles apart. I keep telling myself I'll use the time to work, but most likely I'll just sit around the house with the cat while we console each other.

Maybe, like you, I can use this experience somewhere in my writing.

Gary said...

Beautiful articulation of a glimpse. I have no doubts the translation to the pages of your novel will be even better.

Shawn said...

I just love the word serendipity ... it's so full of promise and intrigue. I, too, believe in it's strength to make things happen when they should or will. I find real peace in it. Most of the time.

Glad you found what you were seeking, even if it was emotionally hard.

I didn't realize your daughter was near college-age ... please tell me she babysits sometimes!

Shannon said...

Awe, Beth, that's tough. My advice: chocolate, red wine and sappy black and white movies. It works, really. She'll be home before you know it!

Shannon said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, G. If
Nope, Shawn. We decided not to make her the babysitter so she wouldn't be resentful of the boys. Although, if she's going to be home anyway and the boys are in bed we will sneak off to a movie.

Tia Nevitt said...

My daughter is developmentally disabled, and I'm not sure she'll ever reach the point where I can let go. It scares the heck out of me because I was kind of old when I had her, and at some point she's going to have to fly on her own.

But she's only six. Hopefully, we have lots of time to get her ready. Independence is possible for her, but it will take a lot of work.

Good luck on that goodbye scene. It sounds like the experience with your daughter put you in the right frame of mind.

Shannon said...

Thanks, Tia. "Fly on her own" is a very poetic way of putting it. I wish you luck with giving your daughter wings, also. :-)

Anonymous said...

If that post translates to the page half as well as it does here, you've got yourself an incredibly emotive scene. Can't wait to learn how it works!

Shannon said...

Thanks, Christian. By the way, I'm really enjoying your new creative inspiration site. I think you've found your second calling :-)

If anyone needs a shot of inspiration out there, visit:

Great stuff!

bella said...

You capture this moment with your daughter with such startling clarity. So glad you had a run in with serendipity. Happy writing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Shannon! I'm very happy that you are enjoying it!