Friday, December 3, 2010

A Good Story

I don’t know what to do.

My lover has asked me to marry him. He’s great. More than great. Kind. Gentle. Strong. Listens when I talk, and thinks I am something . . . I don’t know . . . more than special, I guess. I trust him. Believe he really loves me. And yeah; I’m a little giddy. 


But I have this problem. There’s this other guy.

I know; I know. But it isn’t like that. I’ve never even held his hand.

He’s . . . I . . .

He’s got these eyes. These hands. And when he smiles. Wow. I could listen to him talk forever. And it isn’t like we have everything in common. Not at all. In fact, we’re worlds apart on some things. But when he talks, there’s something. An undertone. It’s bright blue, like an ocean roiling beneath his calm exterior, and there’s this part of me that wants to strip away the cover, ripple the still waters, and lose myself beneath the surface. 

I feel almost giddy when we talk. My stomach knots when he smiles. I can't stop my lips from lifting when I see his name on an email in my mailbox.

I’m in love with him. I know that. But . . . there are these . . . I don’t know. Complications, I guess. Big ones. And I just don’t know if they’re surmountable.

So. And so. A marriage proposal means a time of reckoning has come.

Do I love my lover? Yes. I do. And he is nothing but good for me. He would keep me safe, and hold my hand as we walk, and wrap his arms around me when I cry.

So. What do I do?

= = = = =

So. Do you believe me? Is this story above true, or just an imagining of mine?

Someone recently asked me, “what makes a good story?,” and my answer was something along the lines of “words that capture me; a telling that I can see, and hear, and believe.” But I also added something else, because a good story is more than just a product of the craft of the teller. It captures more than your sight; it captures your heart.

When you read my telling above, did you find my words strumming the strings of your heart? Did you feel something for me, or for my lover, or the other one I love? Did you find yourself feeling outraged, or sad, or chagrined, or maybe you even identified with one of the characters? 

If so, I’ve created a small something that is, in my opinion, worthwhile. I’ve asked questions, important ones, that we – the narrator and the reader – can explore together. And whether you ultimately agree with the narrator’s decision, you’ve done some exploring on your own as well. Asked yourself some questions. Maybe had to rebury some guilt, or blow a breath to get through the wave of pain those images evoked.

That’s good. That means these words mean something. To both of us.

We want answers to life’s hard questions. We long for resolution and peace. Often, we read books to escape life’s turmoils, but I think we choose books that explore those things that matter most to us, because questioning inside those pages is far safer than taking leaps in the real world.

Authors, too, use their writing to mull their own questions, explore their own pain, and proclaim their own faiths.

Through the pages of books, authors and readers walk both light and dark paths together. It’s important, I think, to remember that. We travel beneath the same crescent moon, heartblood on our hands, and turn our faces to the sky.

And so.

What I’m saying is that a good story is one that isn’t. It’s a vehicle for real life, with its concomitant pain, and angst, and longing, and exploration. It’s a place for strife, and struggle, and rest, and for resolution.

What do you think?


  1. This is exactly the reason you should be blogging about writing - I was convinced, and wondered where this proposal of marriage had come from! :)

  2. LOL - I was caught too, wondering what I'd missed ;-) ... great writing - and a great analysis of it too. I do agree, we need characters in our books who are going through character transformation - because how else do we identify with them?