Why let go? 'Cause that's when the magic happens.
Here's an instance from the writing life:
I was writing a book called Bum Steer. I knew who the villain was, but not the motive. When I was halfway through writing it, I started to panic, because it's kind of important, in a mystery novel, to know the motive. :)
One morning I sat down to begin a new scene. I knew which character would start the scene, and I had a couple of things in mind for her to do. But suddenly, without any conscious direction from me, she started up some stairs to the second floor of the house she was in. Huh? What was this? Where was she going? And why hadn't anybody told me?
At that point, I had a choice--let her climb, or stop her and make her do what I had planned for her to do.
I let her keep going.
At the landing, she looked to her left, into a bedroom I didn't know was there. She saw a bureau, and on top of the bureau there was a framed photograph. When I saw that picture, through her eyes, I saw people I never knew existed, and suddenly, eureka!, I knew the motive. Until she walked up those stairs on her own and looked into that room, I didn't have a clue. If I hadn't let her go, I don't know if I'd have ever found out.
Don't you think that's kind of amazing?
That's the magic of letting go in writing.
Here's an instance from real life:
I had a friend, years ago, whose eldest son had vanished from their lives. Not kidnapped, but a runaway. He'd been gone for years. No contact at all, none. Not a phone call. Not a rumor. Nothing. You can imagine how she felt during those years. Well, one day after about ten years of this, she was on an airplane and she started thinking about him again. But this time, she found herself saying, "I love you, and I let you go." And, miraculously, she really did. She told me that in that moment she felt swept by peace, a deep, inner peace such as she had not felt since he left home, a greater peace than she had ever felt in her life.
He called her the next day.
True story, unique in detail, but not in spirit. Because of the book that Lynn Lott and I wrote, many people have told us their stories of letting go and What Happened Next. I could go on like this for some time, telling their stories and enthusing about the terrors and joys of letting go, but I've talked enough for one morning.
Your turn. :)
* (Fourth in a series, all this week, about "Letting Go.")