Tag Archives: magic door

Ungrounded: Moving Forward When Nothing Holds


Inspired by the latest ”must read” blog of PJ Reece, http://www.pjreece.ca/blog/wordpress/ill-go-anywhere-as-long-as-it-is-forward I decided to share my reaction to an image of a compelling protagonist in the kind of story we humans are craving. Why? Because we will all—one day—“run out of geography.”
Layered over and under my mind, is an image I once saw.
Years ago in a far off land, I caught my breath and stopped to wonder at a painting. Surely it is a very famous work that I can find again, I thought. Yes, I find the painting over and over, for it is hanging in my mind.  Almost every day it surfaces, wanting to be seen and shared.
Imagine the scene with me.
A sphere fills much of the canvas, darkness all around it—a planet laced about with a trail through forests, over hills, lost in canyons, tracing seas; clearly it shows the way traveled by an old man who has come to world’s edge (oh see, his eyes shine with visions as he looks forward) bent with age and the trials of blazing his path— and he is about to step off the earth. Indeed the ground is falling away under his cane, as he hobbles onward.
I feel I could paint this scene. It is that vivid. The man speaks these words to me:
Another step— I must now take.
Hear the call?
What is solid, is no more,
Crumbling away beneath me.
Feel the rumble of stones rolling whence I came,
Taunting me with echoes of, “Go back.”
Still I go forward through delicious fear
To what I do not know.
Behind me —behold my path
Twisting up mountains, climbed —but never high enough
Plunging down valleys, fertile, scented with life, and tasting of abundance —that never satisfies my hunger
And the rivers, the oceans, with my track running alongside and over, Living waters that break against my still thirsty heart.
My tortured trail marks my legacy, and ends —
With the step—
I must now take.

Have you ever been in this place of needing to go forward, yet not knowing how  to do so in this world—in your world—in what in the world, for nothing holds.   And if so, can you write about it? If you are a writer, does your protagonist come to this place in your story-this place PJ Reece calls—the dark heart of the story? Clearly, it requires stepping through a “magic door.” Please comment.

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Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back,
recently released in all e-book stores.
cover of The Way Back
New novel:     The Way Back                         To find it on Amazon, go to http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney


The Way Out is Through

Photograph courtesy of Lloyd Goldstein: http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/lloyd+goldstein/all

We do not have to accept a new perspective, it might be too frightening.  Indeed, the saying goes— “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”  It reminds me of a story of a mouse that lived in a cramped space but discovered an opening into a new room.  She entered, but got so scared by the vastness, that she ran back to her small life.  Here is a poem-long puzzled over by many, addressing that very way of thinking.

Locked In
By Ingemar Gustafson

All my life I lived in a coconut.
It was cramped and dark.
Especially in the morning when I had to shave.
But what pained me most was that I had no way
to get into touch with the outside world.
If no one out there happened to find the coconut,
If no one cracked it, then I was doomed
to live all my life in the nut, ad maybe even die there.
I died in the coconut.
A couple of years later they found the coconut,
cracked it, and found me shrunk and crumpled inside.
“What an accident!”
“If only we had found it earlier…”
“Then maybe we could have saved him.”
“Maybe there are more of them locked in like that.”
“Whom we might be able to save,”
they said, and started knocking to pieces every coconut
within reach.
No use! Meaningless! A waste of time!
A person who chooses to live in a coconut!
Such a nut is one in a million!
But I have a brother-in-law who lives in an acorn.

But many do choose to “break through” limits and limiting beliefs.  I recall skiing with Special Olympics when a young woman with Down syndrome had the courage to seize insight and move through her own “Magic Door!”

Jenny glowed , her eyes bright as if a light  had suddenly come on inside her mind. “Oh I see,” she said. After years on the bunny slope turning and stopping her skiis, she had made it to the big hill at last, but when she fell dismounting the lift, knocking over a whole crowd of fellow Special Olympians come to cheer her on, she lay flat on her back watching other skiers navigate the high slopes. It was then that she announced that she “got it.” Finally, all the years of turning and stopping made sense. It was as if she had found a key that opened a magic door and she left the safety of the bunny slope forever.

cover of The Way Back
New novel: The Way Back


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Dear Friends:
I am announcing the birth of my novel, The Way Back. Please download and read it.  It is in all e-book formats. The low price of this e-book of historical fiction is on purpose, in hopes you will write a short review on your e-book page.
This is my second book, a love letter to the veterans of all our wars; I hoped to capture Wisconsin, Lake Superior, our farm and the sacred space of the dairy barn in words. It was a tall order. What words could illuminate my parent’s dreams; what expressions would honor the Ojibwa, and the Manitou of the land? Longing to share the untamed and proud, the gentle, yet fierce spirit of the Great North Woods as I knew it, I sought to immortalize those who lived there. Oh to feel again the velvet breath of the horses against my cheek! I wrote about life and death, about philosophy and love and how to find the way forward on The Way Back. True enough, John Chapman’s poetry seethes with anguish, but the sweetness of his spirit sings to you in his words forged in the trenches of World War I, and formed by the hand of fortune rolling out the dice. I promise you will know him and hope you will love him —as I did.
I am inviting you to be my guest on this heartfelt journey into the heartland.
Susan Carnes