The Inspiration: Photo taken at Jackson Square in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fall 2008.
The Scene: This gate is wide OPEN, but rusted, immovable, and enchained.
What The Scene Said To Me: “I’m free but I don’t know it.”
The Question The Scene Provoked: “How many people feel this way?”
The Truth: It’s hard to break free if you don’t recognize that you already are.
The Story: As a fiction writer, I see stories everywhere. This gate is no exception, and I jumped straight in by identifying it as a person beat up by life. You know, life’s wear and tear stripping away at the individual’s shiny personality, or perhaps he or she feels stuck – immobilized by fear . . . which inevitably leads to feeling locked up inside themselves. I could on and on, but this isn’t why the picture inspired me.
The Chain Revelation: “What if you fail?” If you read this question and it sounds familiar, then the anxiety building, “what if” set of “chains” needs no introduction. I’ve had this thought and several more like it. Yep, those horrible voices that shout identity crushing, life-sucking lies into your head, and I hate them. However, I wasn’t able to break free of these “chains” until I realized I already was free – my gate was open . . . in fact, I eventually understood that I held the key to the padlock.
Sure, I heard the voices, but it was only after I chose to believe the statements that they grew powerful enough to enchain me.
So, back to the picture. Maybe I’m crazy, like my main character Joel, but as I studied this image I couldn’t help wondering how many other people like me didn’t know their gate was open . . . that we are free.
The Impact: As far as writing Book One goes, “chains” turned into “voices;” however, I was able to throw a set of chains onto the book’s cover. (see “story” and “buy book” website pages)
It was only after I recognized I was already free that I became empowered to face the chains that were holding me back. All my characters got a full dose of this revelation, and I truly hope their stories will inspire you to break free.