Stop and Watch the Solar Eclipse

Yesterday evening a friend texted me and said I should check out the sun. After I finished the laundry, loaded the dishwasher, and checked my email, I dashed outside. A faint rosy glow was all that remained in the western sky. I’d been so busy keeping up with the plot of my life I missed an important reflective moment.

This isn’t the solar eclipse. I missed it, remember? But it is a sunset I caught at one of my favorite lakes.

Sometimes we drag our characters through a story at breakneck speed and never allow them or the reader an opportunity to reflect upon deeper meanings.

Dallas Morning News theater critic, Lawson Taitte, made this interesting observation of the Broadway musical, Memphis:

Memphis sizzles with light and heat … so why is it that I feel as if I have eaten something iced with synthetic shortening when the show is over? … Director Christopher Ashley tells the fairly complex story clearly, and choreographer Sergio Trujillo keeps the dancers jumpin’ and jivin’. Maybe the incessant motion, in fact, is one reason for the bad taste in my mouth. The show never really slows down enough to let a song land.

Writing a gripping story is like writing a moving musical score. Moments of frenetic movement are  made more powerful by the tiny little rest. What does the rest look like in storytelling?

*Have a character make a cup of coffee then hold the steaming mug in their hands, breathing in the smell, as they listen to the tick of their grandmother’s kitchen clock.
*Sit a character on the stoop. Allow them to take in the trash and broken windows of what was once a beautiful neighborhood.
*Take your character outside and let them gaze at the stars and feel their own insignificance compared to such splendor and immensity.

This is the life!

I had the pleasure of spending the day at the lake with this little fellow. He went non-stop, exploring every rock, tree, and bug. Late in the afternoon he asked for a snack. He raced to the bank, plopped down in his little lawn chair, and sat there for thirty minutes…resting. Don’t you wonder what he was thinking? Did he feel as small as he looks? Did he dream of swimming to the other side of the lake or contemplate conquering the world? Even three-year-olds with boundless energy have to rest now and then. I think it is in the resting, contemplating, and observing that we learn the most.

Every once in awhile, let your characters slow down and land a song. Let them learn in the quiet then send them hurtling into the fray once again. And NEVER let them miss a chance to soak in a solar eclipse.

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About lynnegentry

Wife. Mother. Writer. Acting Coach. Director of Dallas International Performing Arts Academy.
This entry was posted in Characterization and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Stop and Watch the Solar Eclipse

  1. patriciacarroll says:

    Nice post, Lynne
    I missed the eclipse too. But that is why cameras were invented. Missed it but saw it anyway. : )

  2. Janice Olson says:

    I loved your post. Makes me wonder what I have missed in my lifetime. Were the things I thought important just trivial, and could I have taken that moment to soak in the love, the beauty, the feeling? I guess I’ll never know since I missed them, but I can try from this point to enjoy them in the future.
    Thanks, Lynne, for the reminder.
    Janice

  3. Julie Garmon says:

    Beautiful post! I missed the eclipse too.

    Both your pictures melt my heart–those moments, that if I’m not careful, I will hurry right past them. Doing “important” things.

    Such a lovely sentence. “A faint rosy glow was all that remained in the western sky.”

    Hmmm. There’s something to that…maybe when we miss the glory of eclipses, if we search for beauty, even in the obscure, somehow it’s still there.

  4. lynnegentry327 says:

    Very deep, Julie. I bet you’re an incredible writer! 🙂

  5. Lenore Buth says:

    That’s good advice for real-life beings, too, Lynn. We get so caught up in our To Do lists we forget to stop and look around us at the beauty of our lives and our world.

  6. lynnegentry327 says:

    Lenore, I’ve been surprised by the way people are applying it to their own lives. You are so right.

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