On Writing

Moments that take our breath away

It could be my Irish heritage; you know, that long-suffering tendency toward the suspicion that revealing a joy might bring down the wrath of someone divine.

Or, perhaps I should blame the Yankee culture in which I’m thoroughly steeped, a habit of mind that forbids enjoying a roaring fire without checking first to see if the woodpile will last through the winter.

Combine the two, throw in a dash of Swedish stoicism, and you have my reluctance to share openly a joy–a moment of love and contentment so complete that to share it seems to render it as fragile as an eggshell.

Yet, I offer you just one of those forbidden moments: two Maine islanders commuting home to Peaks Island in their boat–small as it is–having pushed off from the edge of the world, off from the world of work and worry, and into a feeling of freedom, motion, journey.

Maya Angelou said that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. This is one of those moments for me.

Reflecting on this and embracing it in my own life helps me, professionally, to identify the emotion and passion of the communities in which I work and live, to seek the heart of the story, and to shine light on that emotional landscape for audiences.

Of course, just after I shot these few seconds of video, our motor caught in a floating mat of seaweed, choked, and died.

Proving the point about divine wrath? Or just underlining that adventurous stories include unexpected twists and turns? Let me know what you think.

Patricia Erikson blogs about Maine writers, travel, and science from a vibrant, literary community perched on Peaks Island, two miles off the coast of the beautiful and award-winning city of Portland, Maine. If you haven’t already, follow her on Instagram at @seashorewrite or subscribe to Peaks Island Press in the upper right corner at http://www.peaksislandpress.com

Categories: On Writing

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