Sunday, April 7, 2013

Readers Don't Need To Be Hit Over The Head

This past week one of my uncles, Johnny, passed away. He was about nine years old when I was born and I remember him playing with me when I was young. Him and another uncle, Chuck, would feed me black licorice, then spin me in a chair till I threw up. That was great fun to little kids.

The Swayzee's are a huge group, I usually call us a clan. Johnny spent his final moments at Chuck's house with his daughter, brothers, nieces, nephews, and friends in every room, including the garage. I joke that you always know you've reached a Swayzee gathering if the garage door is open and there are few people, usually my uncles, standing around talking.

There were about eight of us in the room when he passed, a fraction of the gathering. We cried and then later came back into the room where his daughter and former wife remained, close to his side. We told stories and laughed. To some, that would be creepy, but my uncle would have looked down and smiled. That is how we said good-bye. My family is tight. We love each other, we joke, we laugh.

Saturday night I was in a funk. I suggested to my husband we go a neighboring shopping center and find a new place to eat. We ended up at a nice Italian restaurant where we sat on the patio. It was a beautiful evening. Sitting outside with my loving husband lifted my spirits. At the end of the evening, the waiter brought us Sambuca, an Italian anise-flavored liqueur. We didn't order the drink; they give it to their customers because it is a part of the Italian tradition. I did not know we would receive the drink. In case you didn't know anise tastes like black licorice.

At this point, I can choose from a selection of possibilities  1. Coincidence - I don't believe in coincidences. 2. My uncle made sure I got the licorice tasting drink as his goodbye - possibility.  3. It was The Law of Attraction. I was thinking of my childhood memories with John and attracted the drink to me. I do believe in the The Law of Attraction.

Life always gets me thinking about writing. If this happened to one of my characters, would I explain the reason to my reader? I don't think readers need to be told everything, especially when it comes to spiritual elements. They should be allowed to draw conclusions based on their own belief systems. Also, it gives them something to take away from the story and think about. You want readers to discuss and/or think about your story later. In The Life of Pi, he gives you two stories and allows you decide which to believe. In Shutter Island, you decide whether or not Leonardo DiCaprio's character is crazy. Both of these stories are memorable. So, do you tell your reader or not? You think about it.

Until next week,
happy reading and writing.
Tina Swayzee McCright


Anonymous said...

Hi Tina. Sorry to hear about your uncle. He sounded like such a special man. I'm glad you were there and that you had one last experience with him. Hugs.

Lara said...

So sorry for your loss. I hope you find comfort in your memories of him!