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8.26.2013

AFTER THE FIRST LINE


"It was a dark and stormy night..."  that's how Snoopy always starts his novel.  He assumes that hunched over his typewriter position where inspiration leads him  No bother that he never really gets much further than that. Snoopy is deep in the throws of creating. 
 
I think about that phrase from time to time in the writing sense - it's a great visual to draw a reader in.  Why we are drawn to intrigue, ominous, impending or even shock, I'm not sure. Maybe it's the suspense, the unknown or the fact that darkness is unpredictable. Maybe that's why some women are drawn to bad boys. That or stupidity, not sure which.

Snoopy's quest to get out on paper the story he has inside I can more aptly relate to than probably any other Charles Schultz character.  That is, barring Lucy, who is assertively bossy, a trait I share with her occasionally.  I don't call it bossiness though my kindergarten teacher did, but rather directness.  I'm sure if you asked the sales person at Pier 1 last weekend, they would most definitely agree that I am direct.

When I was a kid growing up in the church we sang a hymn, "We've a story to tell to the nations, that shall turn their hearts to the right, a story of truth and mercy, a story of peace and light, a story of peace and light. "  Unfortunately I can hear the music in my head, but you probably can't.  I wasn't a big fan of that particular hymn.  It seemed too marchy, too militant for my loosey goosey ways. Obviously the hymn is in reference to telling the world of Jesus. Whenever I sang that song, I thought of Jesus yes, but I too had a story that I wanted to tell.  I was far more drawn to Snoopy than that particular song.

I am constantly thinking about the stuff in my head and how to get it out on paper in a way that will not offend the universe, cause people to be angry, and yet still protect the innocent.  Like Snoopy, I sit down, slouch over my laptop and pound out thoughts, wondering some days if I will ever get past, "it was a dark and stormy night"

I've thought about people in life that are who they are - those that don't mince words, aren't afraid to wear their stuff for you to see.  Some of that stuff is not comfortable to view, but their openness and approach to transparency of self compels me to love them even more.  They are those folks for whom life might have been a dark and stormy night for seasons, or still is.


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In discussing this issue with my friend, Big D, I mentioned that I try to tone things down some when I write. I don't write about certain things because I don't want people to be shocked.  She laughed and said she could mostly say that my filter must not be fully working then.  "Are there different levels of shock?" she asked. "You entered that zone long ago! You hold back??  You don't really have that far to go, do you!" she said with her emphysema laugh [she really doesn't have emphysema but appears to when she laughs hard and out of control].  I loved her for letting me fully be me - allowing me to operate there with no condemnation - for sometimes compelling me further.


She was right.  "It was a dark and stormy night..."    

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