Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Which direction should you go?

When the phone rings at 3:00 a.m. you know it's not going to be good. We peed, dressed at lightning speed and sped to the emergency room. I was greeted by my son's dad and his wife, and also my son's new bride. A headline blurb was all I needed from any of them. I had to get to my son. I darted down the hall past an open door where a young man my son's age lay on an exam table with a butcher knife plunged into his bare chest, the eight inch handle exposed.

I recoiled, grabbed my own chest and ran to my son who had serious internal injuries from a motorcycle accident he'd had as he was coming home from his night shift. He wiped out thirty feet of highway fencing. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "Mom, Rose came to me as I lay on the side of the road before the ambulance arrived. She said I was going to be okay."

My late friend, Rose, who had recently passed away, had been our next door neighbor. She'd been like another mother to my son. The doctor said his very expensive helmet prevented him from having brain injury. My son made a full recovery, but I wonder about that boy with the butcher knife. I am convinced that my late friend cradled my son's head as he lay on the pavement.

What I just wrote is true. It is intense reading. I took the reader right along with me on that journey. If I were writing a book, this would be okay, but when you write a personal essay you have to tighten your focus. I wrote specifically about my son's accident and his "experience" for a religious anthology and the story was selected and published.

Writers, keep in mind that you have to write for your reader and target your market. There are several stories embedded within my story. I could write about ER cases, motorcycle helmets, heavenly signs or dumb kids who return to motorcycle riding and worry the heck out of their mothers.

One more thing, blog readers, did I provide you with enough information, or did I leave you hanging by asssuming that my one reference (his new bride) would be enough of a hint to allow my followers to know this happened almost fifteen years ago? Consider that some of your readers do not know your circumstances or family, so again, you must write to inform your reader.

I hope you don't think I'm lecturing or preaching to the choir. Thanks for reading. I am waiting for my 200th follower.

14 comments:

c-c-hall.com said...

I think it's okay to preach a little bit--you certainly know how to craft a story--and the choir can always use good tips. :-)

Susan said...

Very intense writing, Linda. I'm so glad your son survived. We'll never know about the guy with the butcher knife in his chest. Susan

Terri Tiffany said...

You write so well and all your publications prove that! Love your style,

Dianne said...

this is so compelling, I was holding my breath
I could see the ER setting

If I didn't already follow you, I'd be your 200th :)

Bookie said...

Very interesting this morning...but hard for a mother to read too!

Joanne Noragon said...

You didn't address Rose and the "experience." I'm sorry the word is in quotes. It happened.

Alice said...

I assumed the story was shorter due to the lesson at the end. It was a page turner but I wanted to hear more-more about a mother’s worst fear (the call), more about angel Rose, more about the boy’s condition. Like cars that slow down at an accident even though they really don’t want to see anything bad), I wanted more. Not mentioning the wife again didn’t bother me since your main concern would be your flesh and blood.

Daisy said...

That was intense writing and well-crafted too. Your examples make good points for anyone who wants to be a writer too.

K9friend said...

Your points are right on.
That's certainly one very Mom-scary story!

Pat
Critter Alley

Sioux said...

I wonder...Does it matter if the reader knows that this happened 15 years ago? The reader could assume it happened last week/last month/last year and it wouldn't change the impact of the story...at least I don't think it would...

Mevely317 said...

This is SO good, Linda!!!
Being a relatively new follower, I didn't catch the "new bride" clue. Just the same, I was hooked from the first sentence. (No good ever comes from calls in the middle of the night, and I suspect everyone can relate!)

Susan said...

p.s. on Tuesday....Thanks for stopping by, Linda. susan

Tammy said...

Touching story! I'm so glad he's well!!!

Janet, said...

good post...and I notice you now have more than 200 followers!