Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Leaving our mark

By Pamela

My son's shoe print, a bird's footprints and a tire track meet up at the beach.

Early yesterday morning I hit the beach with my son--he for a hard 20-minute run; me for a brisk walk. About midway through my walk it hit me: So many of us were already on the beach but for so many different reasons. We were leaving our footprints--or tire tracks (apparently a woman scoots around early every day to check on the turtle nests)--as we sought the beach for solace, exercise, recreation, collecting shells or, for the hungry birds, breakfast.

The most prepared beachcombers come armed with a grocery bag.
It made me think about the writers I've met in my life: Those who write for the sheer pleasure of putting words on the page. Others who painstakingly research the lives of those who came before us in order to preserve history. Poets who string together such elegant words and phrases they leave me in awe. Writers who travel far and wide to tell us about their journeys so we can either live vicariously or plan to join them in their travels. Journalists who work tirelessly (some risking their lives) to inform us about what's happening around our world. People brimming with so much knowledge/enthusiasm/humor/angst they simply cannot NOT tell their stories. Different reasons for writing but imagine how incredibly bereft we would feel had these people not shared their stories with us.

Picture your favorite library. Now picture the same hallowed space completely empty. Imagine the void in your life left behind with no place for books or stories or poems.

Not only should we be writing for our own pleasure or, as most writers believe, because it's as natural to us as breathing, but think of the obligation we have to share what we know/experience/believe to be imperative/feel with others.

Sunday at midnight, as my family of five lay side-by-side along the beach, staring at the heavens, we had front-row seats for the coolest show I've ever seen. The Perseid  Meteor Shower rained shooting stars across the black sky as the waves crashed a few yards beyond our feet. One particular meteor streaked so brightly across the sky, we all pointed and shouted to make sure the person lying next to us didn't miss it. Others skittered only briefly through the night and, by the time someone cried out, "There's one!" it was gone. I hope your goal is to write a meteor-dazzling work that takes someone's breath away, that you experience that glow, that incredible, life-changing moment when the story is complete and you get to share it with someone who cries out: Now, there's one!

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