Wednesday, July 20
Sometimes, I Wonder
It isn't just in books that I like a little mystery. When I was a kid I often wondered where Amelia Earhart was and would watch the sky for a while, searching for her plane (it didn't bother me that I was in the Midwest and she disappeared over the Pacific with several decades separating us) or who DB Cooper was (I would come up with extravagant stories about finding him in the timber near our farm) or why a lifeboat was abandoned near Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic (I would travel there, I decided, and I would find the lifeboat and solve the mystery).
Just this week the FBI announced they were calling off the search for DB, noting that 'all credible leads' had been thoroughly investigated. Although she (and her plane) have never been found, there are no active searches for Amelia, either. Some mysteries, I guess, are not meant to be solved.
It makes me sad, just a little, that the mysteries of DB and Amelia and even Bouvet Island aren't still being actively questioned because, for me, when the questions stop being asked some of the magic and mystery surrounding an event also disappears. My daughter won't grow up wondering about the sound of a bi-plane in the air or a man who jumped out of an airplane with a backpack filled with cash and unless she really looks, it's doubtful she will even know about Bouvet Island or the Melungeons of Tennessee. . .and isn't wondering what makes childhood so amazingly wonderful?
I like to think that all genre fiction is filled with mystery - some just don't have the guns or bombs or blood in them. Will the hero and heroine overcome their past baggage? Can a person who has never known love learn to give love? Why is the heroine's mother so awful? When will they realize they are better together? Those are all questions that I ask when I'm reading...and when I'm writing, they are the questions that I hope I can answer in 300 pages or less. That wondering nature of the child I was feeds the wondering nature of the adult I've become.
That's why I still ask all the questions and why I still look to the sky every now and then wondering if that is an old bi-plane that I hear. . .or if that guy in our neighborhood - the one who never talks to anyone else - is old DB, living his life. . .and maybe if I wonder enough, bebe will wonder, too.