November 18, 2013

The Key

Story ideas come to me all the time, in many different ways. Sometimes it’s when a character pulls up a chair in my head and begins talking to me, and sometimes, it’s in a dream. The first time I wrote about a young woman and a rock singer (many, MANY years ago) their names were Emma and Joseph and their story came to me in a dream. Although I fell hard for both of these characters, it was apparent right from the beginning that theirs was a story I could never share. Why? Because romance books just didn’t feature heroines with inoperable brain tumors.

I love their story so much…a tale full of pain and happiness, strength and weakness. The story of a woman who dreams of a key – a key to heaven, or so she believes. Turns out it was a key to her future.

The story played out like a movie, from start to finish – one of the most detailed and complicated dreams I’ve ever had. At the end, there was Emma, reading from a journal she had kept through it all. From her initial diagnosis to her first meeting with Joe, from leaving him to their happily-ever-after. A highlight reel of sorts: the good and the bad moments. And so that is how I began writing their story – in a series of journal entries:

September 1

I dreamt of an angel last night. An angel of fair skin and long auburn hair with a white gown made of delicate lace and wings that took my breath. Her arm was stretched out before her, a key dangled from her fingers. Not a car or a house key. Not a key of gold or fancy jewels. A silver key about an inch in length and of plain design. A simplified skeleton key.

I awoke before I could take her offering and immediately began to sketch my angel. To capture on paper the image so clear in my mind. But somehow I have lost the memory of her face – the angle of her cheeks or the shape of her lips – and only that key remains. That silver, uncomplicated form hanging from a basic chain. Why was she offering it to me? What did it represent? I’m afraid to speculate, for deep down, I believe I know what she was offering me.

I saw my oncologist yesterday. My treatment isn’t working, just prolonging the inevitable. And so I made the decision to opt out of further treatment and accept my fate. Then I dreamt of an angel, and a key.

This story lives with me still today. Enough that I have a key collection that began after my dream: skeleton keys, charms of keys and my favorite, a sterling silver key necklace. It comes back to me at the oddest moments, at least once every year. One day perhaps I will finish writing it down. Maybe then I can let it go. Maybe not. It’s hard to say why some things stick with us through the years. Perhaps it was that like Emma, I felt as if that angel was offering the key to me.


Calisa Rhose said...

<3 Lovely. :)

Sarah Grimm said...

Thanks, Calisa!

Joanne Stewart said...

Sounds like a lovely story and like you that wants you to finish it. Who knows where you'll go when you do? I tend to believe in things unseen, like angels, and this, to me, would definitely be a push to finish that story.

Thanks so much for sharing it!

Sarah Grimm said...

Thanks, Joanne. I can't give it 100% right now, but since the story won't leave me alone, I have been scribbling thoughts and bits of dialogue down.