It’s impossible to know everything about a person. But we’ve been friends for the past few years and I thought I knew her fairly well. We’d spent so much time together; evenings, weekends, and those very rare days off. Very accomplished in her career, she was the one whose opinion was respected by her peers above all others; the one with the coolest head in a crisis. I admired her tenacity, technical prowess and unique ability to charm even the most obstinate of egotists into analytically – rather than emotionally – addressing the issues. She was the total package. But every now and then, a fissure would appear in her facade; but would be gone so quickly, it was easy to think I imagined it.
On infrequent occasions it appeared that she responded to a situation a little too harshly; other times, I thought I heard her gnash her teeth before yet another run-in with politically motivated colleagues. Maybe she just needed a vacation. After all, she’d been at it for five straight years without even a hint of a break. Then I began to pay closer attention – asked myself the hard questions. Isn’t that what one does when a friend seems to be perilously close to the brink? I spent days trying to put the pieces together, but nothing added up. In spite of my misgivings, I finally had to ask.
Putting pen to paper, I allowed her to guide my hand. I was stunned by the words that flowed. My heroine suffered from a wounded heart. She had been trying to ‘show’ me, but I persisted in seeing what I wanted to see. She’s the super-heroine; she has problems to solve, people to save, technology to master. Her life was full of external drama and I steadfastly refused to see that she also had a personal problem that threatened to drain her stamina. Obviously, I was the most obstinate egotist of all.
More of her backstory streamed from the pen. I fully expected her heart to heal in time for her to don the big red ‘S’ and wage war on the villains of the tale. But it didn’t. It was still broken when she discovered each crisis. It was still broken when she fought her way through them. The broken heart explained why her natural determination was tinged with punishing aggressiveness at times. Though she shared herself openly with her friends; her injury caused her to be aloof toward men; and to summarily back them off if they ventured too close. When she least expected it, her condition surfaced the transient vulnerabilities that she expended much of her energy to suppress. It isn’t that the broken heart is now the focus of the story; it’s more like a condition that has to heal while she stands up to the antagonists and fights for her future. With a refreshed point of view, I’m silkscreening in the new aspect; and sharing her more richly faceted story.
Row80 Update, 5/8/2011:
My ROW80 session two update is a post this week .
- Goal 1: Three hours per day. Met it five of the seven days this week.
- Goal 2: Discovering that my 1st draft was horribly uneven in terms of writing quality. In Chapter 3, reached a stretch that required editing, but not much rewriting. Update is complete now through the first scene of Chapter 4. So 28 down, 184 to go…
Happy Mother’s Day to all who are Moms!