By David E. Sharp
The New Year didn’t wait to blast our family into action. My youngest son wasn’t feeling well on January first. By the morning of the second, we were in the hospital for emergency surgery. I spent the following week at the hospital, sitting by his side, comforting him, and updating concerned friends and family of his condition.
With the pandemic at large, only his mother and I were allowed to come to visit. Everybody else had to settle with the occasional video chat and Facebook updates. Though, people found creative ways to support him.
Odds are nearly all of you have spent some time in a hospital. You are familiar with the sense of disruption. You know how time begins to lose meaning as days and nights meld together into a numbing succession. Keeping track of the date becomes both complicated and inconsequential.
What does this have to do with writing?
It occurred to me during one of the restless quiet periods when my son was sleeping. Only the ticking clock and the blipping IV monitor punctuated the silence. In the mad rush of my everyday schedule, someone is always sitting in a hospital somewhere, losing time to ticking clocks and blipping IV monitors.
Every idle moment in my day, someone on the planet sits in a hospital room with a loved one waiting and hoping for good news. It seemed unthinkable to me that the world was still chugging away out there past those windows. And most of the time, I would be out there moving right along with it.
When I am on the other side of those windows, washing dishes or doing some other banal thing, what else is happening at that same moment? Not just the hospital stays, but other momentous life events.
How many people are falling in love?
How many people are laughing wildly?
Is someone riding a hot air balloon right now?
Is there a living person stranded on an island somewhere?
Is there a guy being chased by a bear at this exact moment?
Do you ever wish you could open a window to another person’s experiences? I do. Mainly the bear guy. What is going through his mind?
That is precisely the curiosity that made a reader out of me, and eventually, a writer too. We have one perspective out of billions. Every time I snooze the alarm, there are other people out there whose lives are changing in ways I’d never guess. If we could look through some of those other windows, wouldn’t we be better for the experience? Not only do we shake ourselves from our own every day, but we also gain a more multifaceted view of the world.
That’s the beauty of books. They allow us to peek through those windows and particularly now, without having to go anywhere. So crack a book and open your eyes and mind to the world.
Write one and add it to the view.