Memories are like emotional mirrors, reflecting back the image that connects us. The strongest ones often come through our senses. Is anyone baking Christmas cookies this week finding a more than average visitor trek to the kitchen? The memories can show up in unexpected places or be ones we hold tightly, so as not to forget a place or a special person. Traditional hymns are not heard as often recently and it is a special treat for me to hear “The Old Rugged Cross” sung which was my Grandmother’s favorite, and brings her immediately present to me.
When times of chaos, or tragedy, or stress strike, these images can become lifelines as well when they hold goodness and love.
In The Land of Darkness, by C.S. Lakin, Jadiel holds onto her mother’s memory to give her strength to cope first with her stepmother’s cruelty and then to face a harsh quest to save her father. She reaches for her flute and the songs her mother taught her. When her soul bows under the strain the remembrance restores her. It reaches across emotional time. And also across physical distance as her father, now trapped in a hawk’s body, crisscrosses the sky searching for her.
“He singled out the breathy melody, a thin strain wafting his way—from the south. ….The farther south he glided, the more sonorous the music. Now he was certain he heard a flute, its crystal-clear notes stringing into a tune that resonated deep within his soul. A tune his wife M’lynn had sung many nights in the drawing room, beside the fireplace.”
What special images from your past give you hope?
1. Pick a song that is familiar to you from your childhood. Hum the melody. What memories does it raise?
2. Now choose an instrument that is familiar in your story world and give your character your emotions. Does it give him strength or sorrow?