This one is going to be a short reminder that every situation we are in gives us fodder for stories and inspiration for characters. I just returned from a thankfully brief hospital stay, ER and all the drama that goes with that. I am struck by the human response to walk if we can’t run, crawl if we can’t walk, and swing by our teeth if it comes to that. Behind every curtain there was crisis and trauma, and a different mix of personalities, yet in every case, we were concerned for each other, offering comfort, courage and support. There was even the one obligatory character in everyone’s lives, the drama queen who was convinced that the entire hospital was there to serve her alone.

The overwhelmed nurses and staff, some of them now homeless thanks to Harvey, had too much on their plates to think about their own problems. A few had been there for days without knowing if they had a home to return to. As each of us struggled with our own problems, we bonded. These are the same people that we might not look at if we were in an elevator, staking out our space and staring at the number buttons. The observation tweaked my writer mind.

There were a few who had lost everything in the flood. There was another anxious to be released so that he could continue helping victims clean up and regroup. And there was the laughter in counting nine babies born, noted by the lullabies played over the speaker each time. It was like a message of hope in the midst of despair. I was struck by all of the parallel struggles going on simultaneously and how each one is the most important one in that life at the moment. It was a microcosm of the human comedy/tragedy.

Every life is a novel of overcoming challenges that we count in chapters. We’ll never run out of stories. Whatever situation you are in, be alert to the stories there. Eavesdrop, make mental notes of everything around you. Write on. I’ll write in my head awhile and be back soon. Hang in there, and I will too.

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