When I moved into my new house in Orange, Massachusetts, nothing grew in the garden except grass. The builder thought he was doing me a favor by planting grass but he wasn’t. I’d prefer white clover and no mowing.
Creating a garden from scratch is a little like sitting in front of a blank screen, fingers itching to begin a new story. I studied gardening books, searched local garden centers, and wandered through the surrounding area to check out other gardens. I wanted to know what grows in Orange and to find design ideas worth copying.
Two Pekingese dogs barked at me as I stood close to a white picket fence and contemplated one of the neatest gardens I’ve ever seen, not a weed in sight. Out of the corner of one eye, I saw a flash of orange, the fashion shade for prison outfits. A skydiver, missing me by inches, landed on the perfect lawn and frantically tried to reel in his parachute. The dogs went wild.
Even after an appraiser commented that I lived near an airport, I hadn’t given much thought to the fenced field and gas pump I could see after a short walk down my street. The first private sport parachuting school in the US opened on May 2, 1959 in Orange. Not to belabor the obvious, it’s called Jumptown. All summer, and often in early spring and late fall, brightly colored parachutes dot the sky. I can hear the jumpers but not what they’re saying. If I were a jumper, the words would probably be that I’d changed my mind. Even for a million dollars, I’d have a hard time jumping out of a plane.
However, once a story is written, revised, and mulled over, I believe there comes a moment when the story takes off as though in a free fall. Without that leap, stories might be interesting, technically perfect, and easily publishable but they still haven’t reached their potential.
Do you have a favorite point while writing when the story seems to launch itself?