Saturday, July 7, 2012
July Theme: Searching for Fireworks (Naomi Kinsman)
My first reaction was to be proactive, to google for fireworks locations, to strategize practical ways to be in the right place at the right time. Our timing was off, though, and I kept running into dead ends. So then, desperate, my mind started leaping to dramatic solutions. For instance, maybe we ought to sneak onto the roof of one of the highrises in the city. In the end, we decided to give in. We went home, sat in our darkened bedroom, and watched the sky outside our upstairs window. The fireworks were beautiful, startling as they lit up the sky, here and there and everywhere. We didn't need to buy tickets for a fancy show, nor did we need to desperately steal a view. The fact that we could watch the fireworks in our own home, in such an ordinary way, made the experience all the more magical.
I've been reflecting recently on why I write. I've asked my students too. Their answers range from: "I like the adventure of being the first reader to discover what happens in my story," to "I like being able to control my character's lives, since I can't control my own," and many other answers between. But when I listen closely to what they are saying, and pay attention to my own heart, too, I realize that underneath the desire to slip into a fictional world lies the deep yearning to understand our own real lives. Through the lens of a character's perspective, we discover truth about ourselves, our own challenges and joys, that we might not see otherwise. These sorts of mental fireworks happen at home, in the ordinary spaces of our lives. And they're the most precious ones of all.