When I was first starting out as a novice lab rat at NIH, my boss received a phone call from a Doctor in NYC, she had a collection of blood samples (thousands!) taken from children with a rare blood disorder -basically the mediterranean version of sickle-cell anemia. These children were transfused at birth and since it was 1985, all were infected with AIDs. The mystery was that these kids were up to five years old and healthy! This was unheard of at the time. My boss was intrigued but unsure what to do… and how to conduct such a large expensive study? She fell asleep that night pondering the enormity and woke in the morning with a simple and elegant experiment in mind. Fame and infamy followed but that is not my story today.
My story is the brilliance of the unconscious mind. I often suspect my mind of being much more clever when not awake. This past weekend I dreamt I fell in a hole, it was a hole I actually did fall into, in the woods behind my house, a few years ago. A gap between a large rock and a tree and my leg went all the way in! In my dream, it proved to be the entrance to a cave and in the cave I found an old coffee can. It was full of the kind of gold and gems naturally found in the mountains of North Carolina. I had found a fortune hidden long long ago!
I woke from my dream wondering what it meant. To my husband, it meant finding that hole! I laughed, I know my mind too well, I knew it was telling me something else and hoped I could figure it out. Later that day, I remembered a story I wrote of someone finding something inside the walls of an old house. This made me think of a story of another find. I sat down to look for these stories on backup CDs and while looking, I found a critique someone wrote of a few of my stories. I found my pot of gold!
This person wondered why I was writing sappy happy endings? Was I afraid of pain and hardships? I had to laugh and wondered what my reaction was reading that all those years ago. I watched my husband die for seven years and experienced all five of his clumsy, horrifying, failed suicide attempts. Hardship and pain? yeah, right!
Then I realized that I had a hoard of HEA ending stories somewhere. Stories my angst-driven, artsy-fartsy friends had dismissed.
I remember meeting a young man back then who was a painter and into Fakir, which meant he went into the woods with friends and pierced his skin with nails and hung from ropes until the nails were ripped out. He tried to explain the journey of pain… I stopped him and told him to ‘give life a chance’, he was guaranteed to get his fair share of all the pain he could eat. And yet, back then, I was still unsure of my writing and unsure of the HEA ending.
So, thank you to my romance writer-friends for helping me find a place were pain and suffering is a path to HEA! I am enjoying finding these jewels and nuggets hidden not in coffee cans but old backup CDs. A little dusting, polishing and editing and who knows?
But, mostly I’d like to thank my unconscious mind for still being there for me!