The final chapters of Mockingjay were my running companions for today’s six miler.
A I made my way to the grassy path along busy Falls of Neuse I listened to the war raging around Katniss, the beautifully written heroine whose inner thoughts are so strikingly real it’s hard to believe she is not.
The story of the war propelled my feet onward. The death of friends being left without goodbye’s, the destruction of human life, the hunt for the way out.
And then without warning came the description of a familiar girl with a long blonde braid rushing in as a medic to help the children who’d been fire bombed by falling parachutes they thought were sent to help.
Who is she? Who could she be?
Before my brain could work it out came the description of her duck tailed shirt, and I knew it was Prim; the sweet and bright younger sister of Katniss.
As happens in the very best novels my heart sped up and I inhaled with surprise.
Since I was running, my pace quickened and my focus on the words and the anticipation of what was to come filled my brain and hung around in there trying to make sense.
I cruised through the Wells Fargo parking lot and around the corner to the safer place to cross the road. I hopped up on the sidewalk next to the gas station when I realized I was crying.
Running and crying is a funny sensation. Your feet keep moving and your heart beats faster, your eyes are misty and had I not been so focused on the narrator I would have probably heard the sighs and deep breathing coming from out of my very own mouth.
I sucked in my breath as I got a hold of myself, mostly out of embarrassment, as I was only feet away from a gas pumping customer who would have definitely deemed me crazy had he been given more time to look me over.
I kept on and climbed up and down the ladder of emotions as the story progressed and neared to its close.
The power that a novelist has to move someone’s soul in this way is as astonishing and inspiring to me as the words themselves.
It is the thing that keeps me reading. It’s the reason I prefer novel’s over most any other kind of written work.
I ended my run feeling re-charged both physically and mentally.
My body feels good and strong and my desire to get moving on my own book is deep.
It’s a scary prospect and not something new to my list of goals. The hope that I can one day wield the same kind of power over a reader is so all encompassing, palpable and surging through my fingers as I sit here to type.
It’s in me to try.
The next step is to find the courage to let it come out.