Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Writer Wednesday: Cause & Effect

(This is a repost from yesterday on my personal blog. I felt it was important and may jar some discussion here, too.)

At first, a faint pang taps under my ribcage--the place where my heart should be. My pulse picks up speed, but I ignore it, the mumbling over the phone luring more of my attention and my husband's facial expressions drooping. My chest tightens, the pang now twisting, piercing with each shallow breath. I glance out the window, the summer sky hopeful and bright, and in total opposition of the dread infecting my soul.

Fear, doubt, worry consume the air around me. There's no way out--a black hole. I'm sinking, drowning amidst the muffled words I just heard. My husband drops his cell phone. The car suddenly slows, and he heads towards an off-ramp. Despite the cool from the air conditioner brushing against my face, the ends of my long hair frizz from the extra heat I'm suddenly giving off. I fiddle with my fingers. My brain is a machine, calculating all possibilities from the mundane to the horrific. 

My husband glances at me, our connective stare blank yet brimming with panic. My brain hurts, my eyes now glassing over. So are his. He grips my hand as the car whizzes on the road. I stutter an inhale, words pouring from my mouth with no direction or sense. We tell each other to relax, stay calm. But the rot in my gut won't stop, the gnawing too strong. I want to curl into a ball and hide, pray, beg "Please, oh good God please..."

There are no words feared more by a parent than "Your child has been in a car accident." The above is a lesson in Cause and Effect in writing. Something obviously happened to Cause these reactions and the Effect is surely to be revealed in the text soon. 

But this is also a true story. My story. On Sunday--Father's Day. As my husband and I drove our 12-yr-old daughter to her soccer tournament an hour away, we received a phone call that our two sons--Josh (17) & Jake (14)--were in a car accident. It was not Josh's fault. He had his blinker on and the boys were wearing their seat belts. Apparently, a driver two cars behind Josh decided to pass on a straight-away at approximately 50 MPH just as Josh was turning left into the ice rink parking lot for a hockey game. The impact spun the car in the opposite direction and straight back into the rink sign. The straight back part is most befuddling. It makes no sense that the force didn't keep them spinning or toss them into a roll. 

Josh's car is a total loss. It's a miracle neither boy was hurt severely or worse....2 more feet to the left or if Josh had turned a moment later, the impact would have been on his driver's side door.

My brain is still that muddled mess I wrote about above, examining the what if's and the how come's of Cause & Effect.

How do you deal with Cause and Effect in your writing? 

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