Pieces of a Story: The Mailbox

I came across this piece of a story I started to write a couple of months ago based on a prompt from the Writers Digest website.
The neighborhood kids playing in the street dropped their bikes and hid behind a bush next door. Mr. Crandall T. Wentworth III opened his front door.

Lines covered the old man’s face, drooping down in seemingly perpetual indifference to the world. Lines of indifference that the kids, now silent behind the bush, knew could quickly turn if one inch of perfectly manicured lawn turned out of place. A lawn that mirrored the man's immaculately cared for appearance and home.

Mr. Wentworth III paused at the edge of the wrap-around porch and scanned his lawn. He widened his scrutiny and the lines in his face tipped further down momentarily upon noticing the haphazardly strewn bikes across his neighbor’s parking strip. He strode carefully down the white, spotless walkway and made his way to the front edge of his property to a small tower of solid brick.

Each day was the same. No mail had arrived for him. The kids had overheard their moms gossiping about how Mr. Wentworth III had threatened to sue the United States Postal Service if they did not stop delivering the ads that arrived each Tuesday at every house on the street. But for eight years, ever since Mrs. Crandall Wentworth III died, the mailman had been religious about not delivering any unwanted mail at the Wentworth residence. And yet, Mr. Wentworth III continued his ritual walk to the mailbox every day.


Feel free to comment with an ending to this story...

Time for Everything

This is especially meaningful when considering time spent with family and on our talents.


"Poignancy"

"It is in the moment when the routine comes to an end that appears the poignancy of life's purpose and why the routine exists."

-Abbey Romney




Reporting: Rejuvenating Reality


I have not ventured into the world of news writing and reporting for a few years now. I was asked by someone I know to cover a local scouting event because the local newspaper was interested in the story, but shorthanded on staff. So I went, took pictures, spoke with people, and, in a pretty good turn-around time, had the story ready to go. The newspaper was pleased with it and published it in their next addition.

I think sometimes we have grand and glorious plans and can get discouraged when things don't pan out. When we take a step back, look at what we can do with our talents, and take the time to do that, we are re-energized to follow our dreams.



Something I stumbled across...

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
― C.S. Lewis


Lunch with An Old Friend

Dear Old Friend,

Thank you for sitting with me for a couple of hours at a shaded roadside table outside that hole-in-the-wall authentic Belgian waffle place downtown. Despite the heat, the food was delicious and the conversation delightful. It would have lasted longer, but you reminded me our parking time was up.

It is moments like these that I should consciously take more often. I need to stop running around doing what I'm doing for a split second, a momentary slice of life, and take time to enjoy a summer lunch in the company of a friend I haven't really talked to in years. Yes, you can pretend that posts on Facebook keep you posted, but there is nothing like sitting face-to-face and realizing that you can still talk and talk and talk like you used to. That the connection made so long ago is still alive and well. But instead of piling couch cushions and draping ourselves in costumes, characters, and stories too large for our young selves, we are now talking theater, characters in our lives, and stories in our books, and draping ourselves in grown-up realities larger than our young selves could have imagined.

You've been pursuing a dream since you were 16. I've more recently started on a similar dream. But no matter how different the stories we are writing both on paper and in our lives, the development of that aspect of our characters, which cemented a bond of friendship long ago and was reaffirmed more recently while dining over waffles and frites outside a small eatery downtown, won't soon be extinguished.

Sincerely,
Your Old Friend


Design of Talent

The other day, I met with a talented architectural and interior designer whose work is extensive and prestigious. We were discussing a kitchen remodel. His expertise would have been far beyond our budget except for one fact: he is a kind uncle.

As we sat down, and he drew up a few ideas, I was intrigued once again at his work, this time specifically tailored to our space. He walked around the space, asked what was important to us, determined the limitations of the project, and within minutes had a design that had me floored. I'd often contemplated how to make the space fit our needs and had come up unsatisfied. Within minutes, he'd found a more than satisfying solution. He knows how to look at a space and make best use of it (even with the parameters imposed on him).

As I think about his talent, I can correlate it to the talent of a writer. The end result of that talent is a marvelous story one can devour satisfactorily, just as the perfect solution devised by my uncle. But work goes into making that story what it is: a writer must walk around the space (do research!), ask what is important (outline key points), and consider limitations (edit, cut out irrelevant prose). But with all this work, I also believe a writer must have what my uncle has: that talent, that love, that eye for the space. I think some writing experts call it voice. The writer takes all this hard work and beautifully meshes it into a story that changes lives for the better. A successful writer must have that gift of storytelling. If not, they and their readers end up like me alone trying to design a kitchen space: unsatisfied.


"Understanding"

I've decided to start posting occasionally on this blog short, written, insightful thoughts I've had while pondering life. I hope they may open readers' thinking to gain greater insight in their own life and quest for knowledge. I'll start off today with the following insight (with meta-significance to this blog post) that I had as I thought about what it was about writing that I felt I was good at (cocky I know) and drives me to write. This is what I came up with:

"The power of the written word: bridging intellectual gaps to create seamless understanding."

- Abbey Romney

The Light Between My Oceans

Have you ever placed a hold for a popular book at the library, and then, when it arrives, you put off reading it until it is due back at the library? You cram your reading of the book into the short grace period? (Clears throat, guiltily). That was me last month. This particular book was one several ladies in my book club wanted to read. I missed the decision-making meeting and was asked to host this book. I acquiesced without really knowing what I was getting myself into. But now, I am so glad that I read The Light Between Oceans by .

It is a simple, beautiful, and tragic story. I won't go into the details of plot, but I was intrigued with the symbolism and thought that it provoked. Isolated on the island of Janus Rock is a lighthouse. It keeps the flame that leads ships between oceans. The island is symbolically compared to a doorway. Here is a rough excerpt from the book (Tom and Isabel are the lighthouse keeper and his new wife):

"You know Janus is where the word January comes from? It’s named after the same god as this island. He’s got two faces, back to back. Pretty ugly fellow?" [-Tom to Isabel.]"What’s he god of?" [-Isabel]
"Doorways. Always looking both ways, torn between two ways of seeing things. January looks forward to the new year and back to the old year. He sees past and future. And the island looks in the direction of two different oceans, down to the South Pole and up the Equator."
[Isabel says of their unborn child:] "Can you hear anything? Is it talking to you yet?" she asked.
"Yep, it’s saying I need to carry its mum to bed before the night gets too cold." And he gathered his wife in his arms and carried her easily into the cottage, as the choir in the lighthouse declared, "For unto us a child is born."

I see as a recurring message throughout the book: the effective release of the past in order to move forward to a bright future. Interestingly enough, as the book proceeds, the characters reverse their view, until they both align in a hopeful manner of living, looking forward to a bright future.

There are moments when we stand in that doorway of life with a decision to either let go of the past and move forward or stay where we are. Thankfully, there is the lighthouse there, illuminating the path between the two. I would say the lighthouse represents moments in life when pure truth is illuminated. That truth is illuminated when understanding from the past collides with a bright view of the future. Additionally, the symbolism of children in the book provides more understanding of this process: the true child represents the Prince of Peace, who brings true peace as we accept and let go of the past, allow ourselves to be healed with peace, and move forward with a fresh view on life and a renewed hope in the future.

I find that there are many moments in life when I am standing in that doorway, sometimes without recognizing it. Then a moment in life illuminates the reasons behind what has happened in the past and presents an opportunity for the future because of choices in the past. This doorway illumination happened for me this week. I don't know all the reasons why I was inspired to commence writing a book over a year ago, but events this week have opened the way to let me see a little more of why. I have some interesting ideas for future books, which I would like to pursue at some future moment. But for this moment, in this doorway, I am supremely grateful for the opportunity that both my past year of writing and a lighthouse moment has opened for me.