Monday, May 5, 2008

Right on track

Just when you think the light at the end of the tunnel is a freight train heading straight toward you, something interesting happens.

Several weeks ago, I entered a contest hosted by lit agent Rachelle Gardner. I didn't win (the winning entry was really, really awesome), but Sunday Rachelle critiqued my entry on her blog.

It was an enlightening experience and helped me put into perspective how subjective writing is and how different tastes and perceptions come into play. It helped give me insight onto how on track (pardon the pun) my idea with this entry really was.

Here's was my entry.

"The Miracle"

Things were going along just fine until the miracle fouled up everything. A miracle. That's what reporters on TV call it when a boy who has been missing for 15 years suddenly turns up alive and well. I guess I understand their point. It must look like a miracle from their eyes.

But they weren't there to see the tears of my little sister, or at least the girl who I thought was my little sister, make tracks through the sticky syrup stains on her face as police handcuffed the woman I had called "Mom" for the last 15 years. The reporters weren't there when Sheriff Walker told me that my mom wasn't really the woman who gave birth to me, that my biological mother had a nervous breakdown after my disappearance, and that my real father spent time in prison for my murder.

No one in this story is innocent except for me. Maybe. It's hard to feel that way when you're about to testify against the woman who raised you. She loved me and nurtured me. She protected me; sometimes too much. I wonder now, though, who she was really protecting. At the jail, she told me she had a good reason for taking me from them. I still don’t understand.

I've received letters from people whom I've never met saying they're rejoicing and praising God because I've been found. I feel like I'm lost. I've been told that my family can now mend and be at peace. How do you find peace when you find out the only life you've ever known has been a lie?

My name is William Lucas. Well, scratch that, just call me Billy. It's less complicated that way.

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