Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

Today we remember the courage it took to declare more than 200 years ago that all men were created equal and entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Eventually we realized that everyone, EVERYONE was entitled to those things. Today we remember that freedom carries both rights and responsibilities, including not taking it for granted.

To all those who have worked for freedom, I salute you.

Today it’s also important to remember that no one, NO ONE, has a lock on knowing what’s right or best for our country. We need ALL the voices because it is in listening to other voices that we have the chance to understand factors we may not have taken into account when we formed our own opinions. Other people may have had experiences we never did that are important in understanding what the “right” choice might be in a given situation.

Right now, though, I’d like to talk about a different kind of Independence Day.

Those of you who have read my blog all along, and particularly those of you who followed my journey across country two years ago as I tried to discover where I wanted to live and what I wanted to do after my divorce, you know where I started out. You know that I wasn’t sure if I believed I could do it, you know I wasn’t even all that sure who I was after 28 years of marriage. You know that I had people in my life who didn’t want me to make that journey and didn’t understand why I was. And you know that for most of my life I didn’t believe that I deserved to be treated with respect.

What changed everything was making the decision that I was going to be free of the past and become who I was meant to be. I was going to make that journey and look for a place where I could be happy and successful. I was going to declare myself free of all the old assumptions I had about myself and free of being bound by the opinions of others. That was MY Independence Day.

And because this is a blog for writers as well as a blog about life, I’d like to suggest that if you are a writer, you ask yourself:

What is my hero or heroine’s Independence Day? What is the moment when he or she realizes that life will never, can never be the same again? What is the moment in which he or she lets go of the assumptions and conditioning of the past to reach out and grab for happiness? What triggers that Independence Day and what happens because of it?

Happy writing and Happy Independence Day!