Caveat: Fellow warriors, you know what this means. Woo-woo time. For those who are new to Hint of Jam, welcome! If you’re into exploring the unknown, read on. If that’s not your thing, no hard feelings; feel free to explore the technique-based posts. Above all, you do you.
Circles can be found in climactic scenes or tucked in the quiet corners of stories. They give readers “Aha! moments.” They spark the affection a writer has for the story they’re crafting.
But what do I mean by “circles”?
- Circles are those defining moments that seem to “circle back” from one point to another and vice versa. The significance doesn’t lie in the actual person / object / action but in the purpose she / he / it serves to the bigger picture.
They can be found in various forms in literature. As symbols, like the mockingjay in The Hunger Games series, that repeatedly show up at opportune moments, tying the story’s theme together. Perhaps as characters traversing the Hero’s Journey, going from the Ordinary World as one person then returning from the Special World as a changed being, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Or maybe as Chekhov’s Gun, where an action, character, or object is meant to foreshadow something important to come later, like Gansey’s uncanny ability to influence people with just his words in The Raven Cycle.
But these circles are not just in literature. They make an appearance in our very lives as creatives.
On a Loop
From my experience, I know I’m walking down the right path when a circle has found its way as a guiding post in my life. For example, before I left my island home, the story of Abraham traveling as a foreigner to a land he’d never been to kept circling back into my life.
In my devotions. Books I read. In conversation. Abraham’s story would show up every time I wondered if following my passion to dance and write was the right choice. And this circle continued to restore peace. So I bought a ticket and moved. Clear across the Pacific Ocean to a place I knew little about. Away from family. Away from childhood friends.
Although I thought I was done with Abraham’s story a year into living in the vibrant community of Portland, I’ve found the circle returning. His story has begun to creep back into my mind, the same story that’s guided me here in the first place.
Maybe the circles in your life are completely different. Maybe it’s not a story but a person. Or a symbol. Or a sound. Whoever or whatever it may be, I encourage you to follow ‘em or to watch where they lead because they
- . . . may be the theme of your life story.
- . . . can answer the endless ghosts of “What if’s?” that’re haunting you.
- . . . might open opportunities you wouldn’t have found on your own.
Seek these circles in all parts of your life — books, movies, conferences, relationships, decisions. You may have only one. You may have twenty. No matter the number, no matter the form, find them. They could very well be the lights that guide you home.
Take a moment to think about the circles in your life. What person / object / action / story keeps recurring in your life? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below, creative warrior!
Speaking of circles, remember that one post where I talked about Jenny Bravo’s novels? Well, her new novel That Was the Year is officially coming out in less than two weeks! If you haven’t already, be sure to catch up by reading #TATM and Moments Like These before #TATM2’s official release on November 22, 2016.