What if your grandfather lived most of his life with a terrible secret, a secret so ghastly that his family disowned him and you almost didn’t learn he existed? But what if the secret fault he held close to his heart wasn’t really true? And what if the secret his family thought was true, a totally different secret, was also completely false?
That’s the premise of my story, ‘The Locked Bridge.’ Through multiplied misconceptions and communication failures, Thomas’s family was fractured, a disassembled puzzle. And the pieces didn’t know one another, didn’t even know they were out there. Until one day…
It started with a song. The song held a secret. The secret held a key. But the door it unlocked had yet to be found.
A song. Music. A bit of light and beauty.
No matter how dull, dreary, and dispiriting people’s lives may be, they strive, somehow, to bring light and beauty into them. In the 80’s and 90’s I worked in Eastern Europe and some of the Soviet republics. One thing that fascinated me was that, no matter how decrepit the outside of apartment buildings may have appeared, inside, people had things of beauty. Not many, perhaps – a special vase or a beautiful tablecloth, a lacy doily, or an intricate piece of glass work. A recording of a beloved opera. Something.
I think it’s part of being human. We all crave light and beauty and warmth and camaraderie and the other good things that make it worthwhile to be alive. And in the world we live in, it can sometimes seem as though there are very few of them available. So, if I am to be a writer, I would like to put some of those things back into this world.
Those ‘commie condos’ were just part of the situation that caused people to live ‘lives of quiet desperation.’ Yet even amidst their despair there was light and there was joy. But they had to work very hard to attain it. They did.
And so must we. I’d like to be part of that effort. So I’m writing about light and beauty. Of course, light shines most brightly in darkness, and beauty is most apparent amidst the banal, the ugly. So darkness, banality, and ugliness must also be a part of the writing. But for the sake of the light and beauty, not for their own sakes.
In these blogs, I’ll be talking about writing (mine and others’), about light, about beauty. Now and then I’ll share some of my writing. The story, ‘The Locked Bridge,’ morphed into something else – a different novel called ‘A Hand on My Heart,’ that I hope soon to share with the world. But William’s story, the story of Thomas’s grandpa (Papi, in French) must also be told.
The ‘locked bridge,’ by the way, is the Pont des Arts, a passerolle (pedestrian bridge – pictured above) that crosses the Seine River in Paris between the Louvre and the Paris Institute. You can read more about it on my Tumblr blog starting with “Love Locks: The Beginning,” and going through “Postscript on Lovelocks.” There’s also a Wikipedia article about it. But my blog is quicker.
At another time, I’ll share a little of William’s story.