I saw him again...only it wasn't a him; it was clearly a woman. I feel stupid now that all the pieces are put together. You want to know what gave it away? The shirt. The shirt was the kind I see my thirteen-year-old cousin wear. It has a seam just below the bust line with cute barely puffed sleeves. She was wearing the toboggan cap again and it was seventy degrees outside, so that must mean that it's not really for warmth. The way she walked suggests a mental illness, which isn't unusual at all, given that there is a mental care place several blocks away. People from there walk in my neighborhood all the time, just usually in groups. I can't believe they'd let her go by herself. The strange thing is that she comes past my house, continues for a little ways and then abruptly stops and immediately turns back. The first time I noticed her she stopped for a second, but then went a few steps, stopped again, and then turned back. It's very indecisive, just like my mother was when she was sick with depression. Decision-making is affected a lot with that illness, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's something this woman has.
I'm just a bit sad that my character couldn't be in the form of someone living. It seriously burst my bubble. It's like waking up from a wonderful dream only to find that it wasn't real.
I think this particular entry is going to be a pretty long one, there's just been a lot on my mind today. It's one of those days that's not just cloudy, but gray and dark and rainy; perfect weather for writing my girl character's death scene. I went out on the patio and just sat watching the wind sweep through the trees, and I knew it was time. The atmosphere was just perfect for it so I grabbed a cup of tea, letting it and myself steep in the moment*. Looking back, I think there's a lot that could be improved on and fleshed out, but it's a good start. The weather tonight very, very closely resembles that which Nikki sees in her last moments, and we haven't had rain in a really long time, so I had to scoop up the opportunity. I even let my dinner sit until I had finished. It's easy to write the facts, but it's difficult to say it poetically and...I guess not in a boring way. So when the poetry flows, I pause everything else to collect it. Sometimes to warm up, I write how I'm feeling at the moment to see if any of my thoughts would mirror the characters'. Should there be any journal entries in the book, you can bet they're based heavily on my thoughts. Here's a small part of what I wrote tonight:
Someday it will never be like this. The cold inside my heart will be filled with His warmth. The dark, bleakness of late fall will be but a memory. The sun really will come out tomorrow--whenever tomorrow finally comes.
Of course I can't tell you what I wrote, but I hope the finished product will move people to both sorrow and joy. Death for a Christian has that bittersweet taste; the conflict of good and bad that makes it so hard to cope sometimes. It's this struggle that I was hoping to capture by having one of the characters die first.
Most of the songs that I found so fitting to listen to when I write are typically about the story itself, but one song spoke volumes about my own journey through this process and about how my 'sorrow and joy' power the whole project. I first heard it a long time ago, but when I listened to it again, it said everything I never could. This story is partly my story, a collection of all my hopes into a single picture. If I hadn't felt some of the things my characters feel, I don't think I could write this, and I wouldn't care enough to do it anyway. So here's line by line how this song fits in with everything. I've also added links in some of the explanations that take you to a picture. =)
It started out as a feeling - [It started out as love for someone lost and when he died, I pictured doves flying. =)]
Which then grew into a hope - [In a rather wordless, picture-less way I knew I would see him again. I don't have the specific picture that triggered this thought...er, hope, but this one should do.]
Which then turned into a quiet thought - [I pictured our meeting...(above pic still applies.)]
Which then turned into a quiet word - [...then put those feelings and pictures into words...somehow I began to think of my papers on strings when listening to this song.]
And then that word grew louder and louder, 'til it was a battle cry - [A few words became many...and my feelings toward that initial thought grew stronger, and I thought 'Wait a minute...he'll be back!' (pic below)]
I'll come back - [I remembered Judgment Day and thought--very poetically, but not accurately--'will he just show up on the doorstep one day?']
When He calls me - [Word change here...Jesus has to give the sign, of course ;-)]
No need to say goodbye - [We get so caught up in goodbyes to the deceased, when they're really just gone for a little while; therefore, no goodbyes necessary! This picture, in my mind, depicts the characters saying goodbye on earth at the airport.]
Just because everything's changing, doesn't mean it's never been this way before - [Everything will one day be restored to what it was meant to be. Maybe Adam and Eve had a slice of it, hmm? There are too many pictures to reduce this to one, but here's something that works well.]
All you can do is try to know who your friends are as you head off to the war - [In the meantime, stick with your friends as soldiers in God's army.]
Pick a star on the dark horizon and follow the light - [In the story heaven is depicted as being a star in the sky, something real, but unexplainable, like the star of Bethlehem. Not accurate at all, but a fantastic idea! ;-)]
You'll come back when it's over. No need to say goodbye - [Yep, not just everyone we know, the characters will make their reappearance on the last day.]
Now, we're back to the beginning. It's just a feeling and no one knows yet - [It's still in the early stages, and most people have no idea what this is all about, or that I'm even writing anything.]
But just because they can't feel it too, doesn't mean that you have to forget. - [Not everyone can understand what I'm feeling. I'm definitely holding on and not forgetting him, though.]
Let your memories grow stronger and stronger, 'til they're before your eyes - [As I'm writing I'm making scenes in my head of what may actually come to fruition. I just picked out a painting that looks very much like my boy character.]
You'll come back when He calls you. No need to say goodbye - [Yep, back to this again. He'll be back one day and until then, I'm not saying goodbye...hence the story so I don't have to. ;-)]
Here's the song if you want to listen to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9q_65eL-GQ
*While I worked, I listened to Long Long Time Ago, The Portrait, and There's No Place Like Home (the latter I will also use for the friends' reunion in heaven).