The Saturday Morning Blogger – The roots of a story

The Saturday Morning Blogger – The roots of a story

James Barrington

This week I will lay some of the groundwork of the novel that is taking shape in my mind and on the computer screen. It is a story of small town life and how the lives of classmates change between their high school days and their twenty-year class reunion.

Teenagers tend to think that what they are in high school will profoundly impact what they are in life. Those of us who have been there know that to be both true and false. High school can solidify the groundwork for our decision-making patterns throughout our lives, but the details are much more profoundly affected as we move into real-world decisions.

There are many allusions in literature to “crossing the Rubicon” and observations that “you can never go home.” Some real life choices are irreversible, but Christians come to understand that even bad choices don’t have to be the end of the discussion. Sure, the effects of some choices are irreversible, such as murder, for example. But the eternal consequences can be changed as long as there is life in our body and a repentant heart. Saul of Tarsus and King David are both examples of that.

The novel that is my current project has a working title (subject to change) of The Reunion.

The story opens with class members gathering for their twenty-year reunion. The jocks, the nerds, the students and teachers, all come back to remember and renew, but it only takes minutes to become apparent that high school stereotypes frequently break down under the stress of real life. The “popular kids” have largely fallen onto hard times, while the class nerd has become a soldier on and off the nation’s battlefields. Disaster has struck the home town and the pieces are still an open wound.

Nothing happens in a vacuum. The battles of the world have had real life impacts on this small Texas town and acts of war on the opposite side of the world impact people and places everywhere.

Examining the lives of the classmates exposes the good and bad choices they made as youngsters and how those choices built derelicts and heroes. Some of those outcomes are immediately evident, while others fester inside, marking some for success and others for failure. But even those labels are tenuous, depending on the measuring rod.

Undercurrents run through the town that are generally invisible except to those who are directly involved, and the stalwarts of the community come face to face with the darker sides of the world that are as easy to ignore as turning off the television. When evil and avenger come home to the same reunion, the classmates can be left wondering which is which.

We’ll begin developing the characters and story next week.

Thanks for reading!

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