Do You Listen When Life Screams At You?

   I suppose you’re wondering what in the heck this picture is about.  Well…I’m about to tell you.
   In October of last year, my husband and I set out on a trip to the great state of Washington.  I had visited for the first time two weeks earlier with my friend April and my daughter. 
   I was hooked.  I’d found my home away from home.  I loved the undisturbed beaches and the rugged ocean.  I loved seeing snow capped mountains one minute and walking in a rainforest the next.  I loved it so much that I had to take my husband and share the experience with him as well.  So…off we went…on a jet across the country. 
   We stayed in Seattle and then ferried over to Bainbridge Island the next morning.  After visiting the adorable town of Poulsbo and Liberty Bay, we drove to Port Townsend, a Victorian seaport that quickly became one of my favorite stops (a stop we almost bypassed by the way).  
   It was here that I had my ah-ha moment.
   You see, that spring I began writing down the premise to a novel that wouldn’t leave me alone.  The title was unusual..a word that belonged to me and me alone.  The setting, I thought, should be Seattle.  I loved and named all the characters…the leads going to Michael Waterman and Kat McCloud.  But….I was drowning in and struggling with another manuscript I’d started a whole year earlier.  So…I jotted down a few chapters and character arcs so that I didn’t forget the idea, but even though I loved this story, I sat it aside, neatly hidden away in my laptop to prevent any further distraction.
   But…sometimes life disagrees with your plans and SCREAMS at you.  The question is, “Do you pay attention?”  This is how life screamed at me:
   As my husband and I drove down the main street in Port Townsend, I glanced out the window and to my amazement, faintly painted on an old brick building were the words Waterman and Kat.  It was like something or someone was saying….”Write their story.”
   I could hardly speak and flailed a bit as I attempted to point out the building before it passed.  My husband panicked, of course, ( I was behaving as if I were having a seizure).  He, with great skill, averted rear-ending the car in front of us because he is amazing.
   Once I finally explained myself, he sweetly drove back around town, through the detours (there was a festival that day), and back to the building that displayed my characters names.  I proceeded to snap the above picture and gape awkwardly at the sight.  I realized I was in their world.  Seeing the things they would see on a daily basis.  Research doesn’t get better than that.
   Now…as you can imagine, I firmly believed I needed to ditch my current work in progress and focus on the one that I had horribly ignored. 
   But…I didn’t do that.  I decided to try to stick it out with the manuscript that was killing me.
   I’m stubborn and often require bludgeoning to get the point across.
   After we returned from our visit, we downloaded our pics onto the laptop and made copies to put in a photo album, but somehow this pic got lost….and even worse…the rest of my pics got deleted from my laptop.  On top of that…we lost our little picture card thingy that goes in the camera!!
   Thankfully…most of my photos were printed out or saved on Facebook, but not this one.  This one was lost.
   Until it made it back into my hands a little over a month ago, thus inspiring a new sense of what I needed to be writing.
   No longer am I struggling or drowning…no longer am I freaking out every waking minute about a difficult plot…Now I’m just writing and getting every word just right.
   It took a while…but I finally listened.
   Writers….Have there been any ah-ha moments you didn’t act upon??  When has life screamed at you?
  

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