Saturday, August 21, 2010

Memory Walking

As an author I’m sometimes asked where ideas come from. I’m not always sure how to answer that. For those of us with a vivid imagination and quest for knowledge ideas are everywhere. It takes only a word, a look or specific scenery to start the wheels turning and before we know it we’re creating our own story around that word, look or scenery. Normally the best ideas come from what you yourself are interested in. Want to write a private investigator series, then take a private investigator course. Interested in police procedures or forensics, take a class. Knowledge opens the door for the imagination to take what you know and apply it to the fictional world you’re creating for your characters.

If you’ve read The Jacody Ives Mysteries then you know that my main focus on the characters’ “gifts” was dreams. Dreams have always fascinated me and I took several dream gestalting classes, and even taught dream interpretation at local seminars and special classes for local universities. A fascinating subject that I found myself weaving into my characters and stories.

I also studied Shamanism, which is a small part of Billy Dawson’s character in Sacred Secrets. Somewhere in those studies, although I truly could find no research on the subject, the term “memory walking” came to me. We’ve all experienced Déjà vu at times. That distinct feeling that we’ve been somewhere before. Seen someone before. At times it’s overwhelming and we just know we’ve walked this beach, entered this building, touched this item. And yet we have no conscious memory of it. Memory walking was different. A waking vision/dream with scenes, emotions and sometimes even words. Sometimes the memories are fleeting, and yet others play out the full drama of what may or may not have happened in a particular place and time. When I was working on the final draft of Sacred Secrets my friend and editor and I would often meet for a weekend editing bash in Somerset, Kentucky. I’ve made that drive many times, and never experienced anything unusual. This time was different.

Driving along U.S. 27 I found myself suddenly not seeing the road. In fact I was standing inside a small apartment or motel room, watching as a young woman struggled with despair, anger and pain. I saw the gun, knew what she was going to do. The scene switched on me, and I see her lying on the floor, hair fanned out around her, blood soaking the dirty carpet. A young man enters, sees here there, calls the police, grabs a beer and sits at the counter waiting.

I can still see her spirit, standing there in the shadows as she watched him. Her emotions flowed through me, and words came. I pulled the car over, because I couldn’t wait to write them down.

I seal the lock

Upon the door within my heart

As I stand in the shadows



For you to feel. . .


Her suicide wasn’t because she wanted to die. She simply wanted him to feel something. She wanted him to miss her. Love her. Mourn her. Perhaps you’ll find bits and pieces of this emotional need in Father Michaels’ character.

Pulling back on the road I continued down the highway, a little sadder, and perhaps a little more open because I went only a short distance when it happened again. This time I was in a hospital room. A young woman was in labor. I felt her pain, despair and sadness. She lovingly caressed her stomach as she waited in between contractions. There were no friends with her. No family. On the nurse that came in to check on her occasionally. Once again, words came to me.

Tomorrow the sun will rise,

Casting rays of warmth and love,

Upon the dew covered roses,

Creating a world of beauty,

But that's tomorrow,

Today I shall cry

Tomorrow a baby will take its first breath,

Cry its first cry,

Be wrapped in soft cotton and love,

Held in reverence and awe,

But that's tomorrow,

Today I shall cry

Tomorrow I'll sign the papers,

Relinquish my right to hold you,

Give you new life,

Hope for the future,

Parents that will love you,

As I would have loved you,

But that's tomorrow,

Today I shall cry.

Once again, an emotional scene that impacted me in many ways, and thus impacted my editing session and writing of Sacred Secrets. Sacrifice for love. To give up something not because you want to, but because you love it enough to want the best for it.

Perhaps this was all my imagination, because as you know it is vivid. But the scenes were real to me. The emotions real to me. And I truly felt as if I were walking through someone else’s memories. Tragic and painful memories.

I also incorporated this experience into Sacred Secrets, allowing Jacody Ives to have his own “memory walk” experience.

So where do ideas come from? They’re everywhere, in everything.

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