When the words on a page give me pause, I read them over and over again. I am in awe of writers skilled in the art of describing a character’s actions in a way that reflects the reader’s reality without ever knowing the reader. That’s when you land in a place of common understanding. It’s the realization that if the author doesn’t know who I am but is writing my thoughts, then, clearly, others have the same thoughts.
Daniel Silva’s passage in “The Kill Artist,” carried me to this place of common understanding:
He wandered for a long time, thinking. He followed the dark, cool passageways wherever they led him. Sometimes he would find himself at a locked gate or an impenetrable wall of Herodian stone. Sometimes he would come upon a courtyard bathed in warm sunlight. For an instant, things would seem clear to him. Then he would embark down another twisting passage, the shadows would close in, and he would realize he was still no closer to the truth.
Life is such a tease, shifting from sunlight to shadows; from clarity to haze. Just when it seems the search is a success, all that is clear is that the search has only just begun, or even worse, that it never ends.
But that makes sense, doesn’t it? Life isn’t about coasting. If it were, there would be no stories to tell. Stories are crises to resolve, dragons to slay and relationships to establish or mend. Some stories lead to a happy ending, some leave the reader hanging, and others are part of a series that go on and on.
Today I would tell my younger self that worrying about the future is a waste of time. Don’t take life so seriously. No matter what you do, you will face twisting passages to embark. Expect to continuously navigate dark, cool passageways, practice how to pivot away from locked gates, enjoy the warmth when it surrounds you, and know another twisting passage always lies ahead. It’s the story we all live, over and over again.