Sunday, September 28, 2008

Of Roller Coasters and Fresh Challenges

Sometime in the last five year I got a wild idea. I decided that before I die, I would like to ride a roller coaster. Why? It’s not as if I’ve always been a daredevil kind of personality. When it comes to the serious things of life, some folks might even consider me a stick in the mud. So don’t ask me where this yen came from. When I first got the idea, which was also the first opportunity I had to do it, I’d been undergoing therapy for my neck, so such a thing would have been foolhardy.

Because roller coasters aren’t on every corner in life, I’ve gone stretches of time without thinking about it. But this weekend, my husband and I have visited at a theme park, and it occurred to me that the place undoubtedly had a rollercoaster—though it was not visible in the central venues of the park. Hmm. Did I dare? Would it be foolhardy? When I checked the map of the place, I discovered it had two, one of them looking from the map to be more monstrous than the other. I decided the better part of wisdom, given my age and lack of experience, was not to choose the most monstrous-looking one. My sweet husband didn’t stop me, bless his heart, though he wasn’t feeling up to joining me.

So I did it. Even though the Tennessee Tornado isn't one of those creations that tries to outdo all the competition, it is plenty serious . . . breath-snatchingly fast, upside down in a complete circle twice, and sharp, sharp turns that would have launched me like a Hail Mary pass if I hadn’t been securely anchored. The scariest moment was a complete surprise, which added an extra flash of terror. We came charging up over a high peak—and there before us was a solid wall! This would have been a serious place to scream, but I didn’t (then or ever). Instead of plunging into the wall, we plummeted straight down, low and under the wall—and into a dark tunnel with strobe lights.

The good thing about going at such mind-bending speeds is that almost in a flash it is over. As we walked away, I overheard someone say it lasted a minute and forty-eight seconds.

Did I enjoy it? a friend wanted to know. In the sense that I came away completely satisfied that I had done it, yes—but I don’t feel any need to do it again. (Big smiles all around)

If I can do what I did today, then I have to believe I can rewrite the beginning of my story the way it needs to be done. Truth is, the more I think about it, the more I know it is the right thing and the more excited I am to get started. During the last several days I’ve been waiting on the Lord to show me how to go about starting with that scene my writing friends thought would make a good opening.

With God’s help, I think I’ve figured it out. Now to try and do it. Can’t be any harder than riding a roller coaster for the first time at my age.

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