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Monday, April 16, 2012

Contrail and content...fingerprints on the mind

Today was one of those amazing Spring days. Actually, it was Summer-like with the eighty-degree weather. This evening, as I sat outside on our deck, I heard lawn mowers, dogs barking, and children laughing. I love this time of year when everything awakens after the winter hibernation. We see neighbors we haven't seen in months. We plan picnics and get-togethers. Life begins again with us, just as it does with the blooming tulips and daffodils.

As we sat on the deck enjoying the fading sun and the sweet, cool breeze, I saw a plane slice through the clear, blue sky. Contrail in its wake. You know, that puffy, cloud-like trail behind an airplane. Like a wake behind a boat. An echo in a cavern. Fingerprints on glass. Evidence of a presence. It reminded me of the importance of the impression we make. The imprint we leave on the lives of those we come in contact with. Usually, it is this residue that makes the most indelible mark.

Good writing doesn't simply entertain. Although many read for the sake of being entertained. To escape into another world for a little while. Maybe to learn something new or explore another perspective. But truly good writing isn't forgotten. The reader might not remember the exact words, but will remember how the book made her feel. Made her think. Changed her in some way, no matter how small. The amazing Maya Angelo said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” That is true in life and true in writing.

I hope my writing makes people pause. Think. Consider a new idea or perspective. But most importantly, I hope my writing makes an indelible mark on their soul. That while a reader might not remember exactly what I wrote, they will have a visceral reaction and remember the way my writing made them feel.

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