I could tell you a tale, oh how I could tell you a tale...
Our move from North Carolina to Texas could have originally been depicted as a buddy comedy, filled with errors, mix-ups, annoyances, frustrations, and the odd bit of comic relief. The kind of adventure that gets under your skin at the time, but at the end of the day, you sit back and laugh as you shake your head in disbelief.
Somewhere along the way (in Louisiana to be precise), someone changed the script. An underinsured driver of an 18 wheeler was written into our lives, and our buddy comedy quickly turned into a seemingly unfathomable action movie. Time was passing slowly enough as our caravan of vehicles sat motionless, one behind the other in traffic on the I-10. That's when this unwanted character invaded our lovely film. This driver, who seemingly forgot what the brake pedal was for, slammed through us at over 70mph. I still can't bring myself to describe for you exactly what happened, as my eyes tear up and my hands start to shake when ever I paint that picture in my mind. Just suffice to say that it made my favorite action movies appear all the more real to me after that day. The sequences you see when massive collisions happen in painfully slow motion, are indeed accurate. Those actors who skillfully portray so much going on in so little time, are indeed masters, whose acting prowess far exceeds the acclaim their genres are usually afforded.
My two young children were in the back seat praying throughout the ordeal, and we thank God that we are alive. As for possessions... we lost over 90% of them that day. That which wasn't incinerated by the multiple explosions, was either horribly burned, smashed, or at a minimum, soaked with diesel and gasoline.
Imagine sitting on the floor in the bathroom of a hotel room, while you attempt to dry diesel fuel from birth certificates with a hair dryer. The pungent fumes attacking your already throbbing head while you sit quietly on the cold, hard tile, trying desperately not to cry too loudly or you will wake your children. That was the first of many months of sifting through rubble.
In the months that followed this ordeal, I frequently found myself asking,
"Where do we go from here?"
Whilst the dust has settled and the fumes have largely dissipated, we are still engulfed in the ongoing dramas. Medical, insurance, legal, those issues are painful enough, but they pale in comparison to the emotional toll such an event can have on a family. Fears, anxiety, nightmares, above all else, I was so angry with what that man had put my children through. Being afraid to get into a car, unable to sleep, night terrors. I needed somewhere to vent my anger, for fear that I would soon errupt with more force than Mount Saint Helens.
Time and exhaustion chipped away at my inability to sleep, and my zombi-like state was soon replaced with brief, recurring nightmares. Unable to face another repeat of that terror, I swapped attempts to sleep with writing. It became my outlet. I worked through my fears, my rage, my helplessness with every completed page. Pouring the emotions that I could not confront for myself, into the very life of the characters in my novel.
Night after night, emotion after emotion, I wrote.
I recently reached the all important words on my manuscript "The End". As I go back through each chapter, editing and completing rewrites, I am reminded of the emotions that I felt along the journey of writing this book. One day soon, when you read it, I'm sure you will be surprised by the topic of the novel and the characters within it. You may wonder how I could possibly draw parallels between its story and mine. But for those of you who know me, or consider what I've just told you, you may find glimpses of me and my struggles hidden within the pages.
For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter (@realreneelogan) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/WordOfRenee), I will swing back around here from time to time and let you know how things are progressing. Hopefully one day soon, you'll be reading my novel "J159" for yourself. I look forward to the day when you can ask me questions and tell me what you think.
As for the question "Where do we go from here?" Simple, we rebuild. My family is what matters most to me, and that's the way it will always be.
Wishing you all love, peace, and countless blessings.