Note: my site has been down. We seem to be back in business, so greetings this December 18.
Today, my dental hygienist described her accident twelve years ago–she swerved for a deer and hit a semi instead, breaking her arm in several places, crushing her humerus, ulna, and wrist, puncturing a lung, breaking some teeth and an ankle, cracking two vertebrae and lacerating her foot. Not to mention brain swelling and about a thousand bruises.
The Jaws of Life went into action, and an EMT attended her when she roused, her main concern returning her overdue library books and notifying her employer that she’d be late. Oh yes–and that her arm zigzagged like a shattered branch.
(This picture is NOT the young woman who had the accident, but it gives us an idea.)
Another detail: somehow, her tied work shoes blew off her feet. Sounds tornado-ish, doesn’t it?
She says the experience changed her tendency to keep everything spotless—of course, that’s the personality type for a fabulous hygienist. But now, if grandchild time is at stake, she can wait to sweep the floor.
One week from Christmas day, I can’t help but notice a parallel. Experiences alter our viewpoints. Accidents, traumas, and even delightful, exciting adventures transform us.
Writers try to clarify these changes in their characters. A small detail, trivial compared with collapsed lungs, can make a huge difference. If I survived such an accident, I’m not sure the flying sneakers would capture my attention. But as a writer, they do—how in the world did that happen?
Which brings us to the mystery of the nativity. Far before modern technological advances, human conception occurred apart from normal means. How could such a phenomenon occur?
There’s no nailing this one down. Some things, you simply must report and entrust to your reader.