Value in the Shadows

Today’s post was inspired by another quote I came across in recent weeks:  If only the sun-drenched celebrities are being noticed and worshiped, then our children are going to have a tough time seeing the value in the shadows, where the thinkers, probers and scientists are keeping society together. -Rita Dove, poet (b. 28 Aug 1952)

Shadows can be creepy if you’re in a scary place such as an abandoned house, lost in the woods, or in the unnoticed spaces with the company mentioned in the quote above.  The past is shadowy when much is lost to memory or intentionally hidden.  It is the latter that I want to employ in my family history mystery.

My past few weeks have been shadowy, too.  Life imitating art.  Shadows are often scary, but I’ve been reminded that they are also places of refuge when life becomes foreboding.  They offer concealment when we would rather be unseen.  Shadows become safety.

But what does this mean for story?  My heroine Elle is forced to walk deep into the shadows of family history to discover her roots.  Shadows that for generations many have done much to ensure light never shines on sins and mistakes.  Will omissions  and lies change her destiny more than confessions would have?  As she forgives and reinterprets the past she has the chance to change the course of her own future.  But is a spark enough to kindle a new path?


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