TITLE: No Murder Mysteries in Paradise
By James Brown
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Strong writers engineer multiple streams of conflict to evoke emotional responses from their readers. To them, a story without conflict is like the taste of an egg white – bland and flavorless. Somehow, they develop the tiniest affront into a category four hurricane. How I envy them.
I believe every writer aspires to pen the great masterpiece that brings tears to the eyes of every reader. Heartbreak, tragedy, and calamity become the tools of our trade. What devious minds we have. Yet, we focus so much on this immediate dilemma that we fail to prepare for the future.
This side of Paradise, conflict inundates us like a flood; but what will we do in Heaven – the land of no pain or tears. Well, the immediate thought is that we’ll write hymns of praise. However, a quick look at Psalms reveals a landslide of despair and distress.
At one point, King David said he’d like to be a doorkeeper in the house of his God. What a perfect occupation for those of us who understand the importance of a strong opening. Along that line, we’d make great rugs because no one knows how to hook like a writer (except a fisherman).
I wonder if basket weaving will rank in the top ten occupations since we are such masters at weaving intricate subplots within subplots. If the bottom drops out of that, we can fall back on the time honored tradition of making necklaces. You see, we’ve spent a lifetime stringing words together, so who better to sequence beads?
I wonder if we will enjoy Heaven better than most since we understand the value of active participation. We’d make fantastic hosts and hostesses. Whenever we discovered someone searching for their mansion, we’d show them where it is, not tell. With great, swelling word pictures, we’d describe Paradise from God’s point of view, since that’s the only one that matters and He is the only true omniscient narrator.
I do have one unnerving fear concerning Paradise however. I’m terrified that when I arrive, I’m going to be greeted by an adverb. I would absolutely, positively, utterly, completely and totally find that to be one of the very worst things that I could ever have happen to me.
I’m saddened that short stories are extinct in Paradise. I love short stories, but in heaven they have three strikes against them. First, they are short. Nothing about Heaven is short – I mean it goes on and on forever. Which leads to strike two – a good short story has a beginning, a middle and an ending. Eternity never stops, there is no ending. Factor in the third strike – stories need conflict – and you can understand why they are out.
So, I guess I’ll struggle along here this side of Paradise, writing stories filled with conflict and maybe a murder or two. I’ll continue to fill my manuscripts with the theme of redemption – the basis for the grandest conflict of all – until I cross over. I rest confident in the fact that I’ll have many avenues to utilize my experience as a writer.
Don’t be surprised on the day you pass through the pearly gates if you find me waiting. I promise I won’t spoil the ending for you. I’ll simply show you to your room and let you lose yourself in the wonder of eternity – where we all live happily ever after.
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