Dancing in the Twilight

I talk often about how I wish I could find a passion in life.  I talk about how I am jealous of other people who know their passion, and either go about their life living through it, or taking the necessary steps in order to get there.  It seems I may have stumbled upon my own passion in life as of late, although I’m not quite sure how you can stumble upon something that you’ve been doing since you were six or seven years old.  I remember at a very young age, sitting and writing in a black and white composition notebook.  You know the ones that have black and white spots all over them, kind of like camouflage?  In this book I wrote a story, a story about a group of astronauts flying through space.  At one point in the story they were forced to fly straight through the sun.  I remember how exciting it was to write this scene.  The hot sun scorching through their spaceship, the heat slowly creeping into their cabin, and the men frightened and scared of their impending death, until the spaceship flew out the other side.  I’ve tried many times to find this book, but it appears to be lost.

In a previous blog entry, I spoke about committing myself to writing.  The process started slow, and I still found myself struggling to develop the necessary motivation.  My main project was an autobiography detailing my life, and eventually the spiritual lessons I have learned.  It was difficult for me to relive some of the psychological struggles of my youth, and I kept finding myself questioning whether or not I even wanted to tell people these things, so most mornings I pushed the project aside.  Then early one morning as I was lying asleep, or trying to sleep, a story popped into my head, a story of fantasy.  This story became my new project.  It would be a fantasy-based novel, for young adults.

I dove into this new project with great enthusiasm, but soon grew frustrated.  I was having difficulty developing storylines in my head, and I did not like finding loopholes in my logic.  (The perfectionist side of me.)  I began to have memories of myself writing in grade school, and I specifically remember having difficulty developing my own storylines with a beginning, middle, and end, and so now, I began to doubt myself, thinking that this wall has been with me for quite some time.  For possible inspiration I picked up a book I have, gathering dust in my closet, of short stories by Ernest Hemingway.  After reading a couple of the stories, I was immediately drawn to his style of writing, and found his sentence structure powerful, and to the point, yet it contained so much meaning.  I also learned that a good story doesn’t necessarily contain a huge action-packed storyline, but that the meat of a good story is often character development and overarching themes.  And so I abandoned the new project as well, at least for the time being, and I began to develop ideas for short stories.    Suddenly, stories and characters began to flood into my imagination.  In the middle of the night, I was lying awake, creating mini realities, anticipating the moment I could wake up and write.  There’s been no need to find motivation these past few days, it’s just there, like a newfound passion, which has always been there.

There have been many times in my life when I get all jazzed up about something or other, as if a flame has been lit within, and slowly but surely the flame withers and dies.  So I find myself observing my enthusiasm cautiously, but as of right now it feels really good to be this invested in a creative outlet, and I’m excited to see where it leads.

I have many short stories in development at the moment, but I doubt I will be posting them all here.  I am hopeful that I willeventually publish a book of short stories, though I hear books of this type are difficult to get published these days .  The following is one of my latest works.  It started out as me simply practicing imagery and descriptive writing, but then it turned into something.  I hope you all enjoy it.  The main character is not based on me, I swear. 

Dancing in the Twilight

The young man in the wheelchair sat on one side of the four lane road, looking left, looking right.  Cars sped around the corner, out of the wooded area, and towards him.  To his right the cars came like tiny specks, growing larger and larger, and then whizzing by.  An opportunity arose, a space in the onslaught.  He pressed the accelerator forward, a horseshoe shaped joystick, and the battery powered chair skirted forwards, and he pulled into the turn lane.  In the middle of the road he now sat, small specs becoming larger specks, as he waited for his turn.

An old woman looked out her window, her hand to her throat, a lump in her stomach, praying for the young man in the wheelchair, praying for his safe crossing as she always did.  Like always, she grew nervous, even while the young man sat seemingly calm and unruffled, still, she felt nervous.  He zipped across the road again and made it safely on the sidewalk.  She breathed a sigh of relief and went back to her book.

The rubber tires made a repetitive sound as they rolled across each consecutive crack.  Budump-bump, budump-bump, budump-bump.  To his right, the sun was slowly making its way towards the horizon.  The sky was beginning to change colors, long thin clouds streaked across turning golden and saintly.  To his left was the park, a spread of thin, aged live oaks, gravel pathways, wildflowers, long grass, and of course the lake.

He pulled into the park entrance, went down a small decline, and followed the road along the dam.  Joggers and bikers looked at him from the corner of their eyes, wishing to appear focused and concentrated on the exercise at hand, but deceptively curious of a new addition to the landscape.  He bounced into the gravel pathway, small stones jumped and sang as he passed the sign stating, “No motor vehicles beyond this point.”  The lake quickly approached, he pulled into the grass, and claimed his territory.

The water in the lake rippled across the expansive landscape.  Each angle reflected the light in a unique and beautiful way, creating a pattern of elegance and symmetry.  The ducks sat on the water peacefully, bobbing up and down, staring off into an abyss, one with nature, empty, thoughtless.  The cranes swooped and glided, dove and perched.  It was a summer evening, hot and muggy, but much cooler than the heat that the afternoon had brought.  The sky was now crimson, a smoldering fire beneath the ashes.  The sun peeked over the horizon, casting long rays, as the bugs danced in the twilight.  Turning with his back to the lake, he faced the sun, and turned his palms upwards.

The joggers passed by, breathing heavy, exasperatingly short, sharp breaths.  There feet slid along the gravel path, shuffling, feeling the hard earth vibrate through their toes and knees.  They saw the young man sitting in a wheelchair as they approached, saddened and uncomfortable at first, then inspired as they saw the peace on his face.  They smiled awkwardly, ashamed that they were running by someone who could not walk.  Yet he had peace on his face.  “How could he have such peace on his face?” a middle-aged man thought, as his feet shuffled by.  He nodded, and smiled.

The young man smiled back.  His heart had never felt more open, yet so closed.  His mind had never felt more quiet, yet so busy.  His legs had never felt more alive, yet so lifeless.  He muttered to himself, the mantra that revitalized his senses, opened his chakras and brought a sense of peace to a mind which fought to find restlessness, fought to find peace.  The two battled in an epic fashion, “I am restless, no I am at peace, I am in love, no, I am loveless”.  The young man shook his head, “Back to the mantra.”

The words rolled off his tongue as he whispered, his lips moved, his eyelashes fluttered, and he felt the warmth of the sun’s rays on his face.  Here came another jogger.  Middle-aged once again, this time a large, heavy woman.  The weight of her body was painful on her joints, and she grimaced with each step.  “He must think I’m terribly stupid,” she thought.  “A woman of my size, jogging.”

She smiled halfheartedly as she passed and the young man saw something in her eyes. “She has such strength and vitality, and courage as well,” he thought.  “I am proud of her somehow. Too bad she will never lose the weight.”  Cynical of him to think such things, the pride he had for this woman, yet failing to believe that she would ever reach her dreams.  “How many of us reach our dreams?” he thought.  “How many of us achieve what our mind constantly says is impossible?”

He had been paralyzed for eight years, a quadriplegic, the result of a freak diving accident.  He was lucky to survive, or possibly unlucky.  He thought about it both ways, depending on his strength that day, depending on his frame of mind, his perception.  His mind had always been strong willed, but life had made him grow skeptical, dreams lost, hope losing out to impending fear-based doom.  While his injury had brought him sadness, it also revitalized his hope, revitalized the idea that dreams were not meant to be lived out simply through dreaming alone, but could be accomplished in reality.

More joggers passed.  Sometimes he would purposely keep his eyes closed as if testing himself, understanding that not every person needed to be acknowledged, not every person needed to be comforted.  Many of the joggers looked at him with concern on their faces, wondering if he was okay.  “Maybe he is stuck,” some thought, “maybe he needs my help.”  But he had too much peace on his face.  “No, no.  He’s fine.”

The sun was creeping lower now, barely peeking over the treetops.  Rays of sunlight peered through the branches.  The young man placed his paralyzed hands together in prayer, looking up into the setting sun.  “Oh Lord,” he said, “May tonight be the night that my broken body awakens.  May tonight be the night, that my muscles come to life.”  He opened his eyes and caught a final glimpse of the bugs dancing in the twilight.  He closed his eyes again, praying, “May I one day also, dance in the twilight,” not realizing, that he already was.

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14 Responses to Dancing in the Twilight

  1. Maria says:

    Colin, you are very talented ! You accomplished the dream of a writer, I was there, right next to your character, I walked in the park alongside him, felt the serenity of the park, the pond ; envisioned every jogger and repeated his mantra as he!

    Excited to read your next story.

    You inspire me:(

  2. Colin says:

    Thank you so much Maria! I really appreciate the encouragement. 🙂

  3. Shrikrishna Pandit says:

    Great going Colin. Beautifully written with a terrific ending.
    WIth best wishes.Shrikrishna Pandit

  4. Veena Krishnan says:

    Colin, your descriptions are so vivid, I could paint the picture you have created. Now that you have made a start I’m sure you will be motivated to continue. And as I wrote earlier too I’m waiting for the day when your published book will reach the best seller stand.

  5. C.E. Hart says:

    This is beautiful, Colin. I love your evocative style of writing. 🙂

  6. jennifer says:

    I really enjoyed your story…thank you for taking the time to share it with everyone.

  7. Hi there Colin. I am that jogger who passed you many times only I didn’t realise you were so at peace while I was not. Looking forward to following your blogs.

  8. nkumar says:

    You have a very readable style. All the best and I will be a regular visitor to your blog from now on !

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