I was in my boot camp the other morning, “Body by Bill” we call it. Should be called, “How many ways can I kick your booty!” But that’s another blog. So, I’m jumping rope when the song Maniac came on. Immediately I’m taken back to a theatre in a small city in England the summer of my thirteenth year when I saw the movie Flashdance. The cut out neck sweatshirt that Jennifer Beals wore changed my complete eighth grade wardrobe. Before I knew it Bill was playing the best of the eighties and I forgot I was working out. Instead I was immediately transported to Friday nights after high school football games, riding in my boyfriend’s baby-blue pickup truck, dancing in front of the mirror in my pj’s with a hairbrush for a microphone with my best friend. Wonderful nights. Good times. That’s the power of a song.
For about eight years I had the privilege of writing songs. And through those years I received countless letters, yes, actual things that come in the mail letters, about how those songs impacted people’s lives. Now, I have the privilege of writing a story. I say the word privilege because every time an e-mail comes and someone tells me how the laughed until the bed shook, cried until they were out of tears or wished there were more pages when they got to the end, I count it a privilege.
Every time I walk into a bookstore and see a book with my name on it I still don’t know how that was ever accomplished. I’ll reread a passage, remembering the moment I wrote it, yet still not knowing how something divine can blow into the heart of someone like me. There are days I don’t feel qualified. Moments I wonder if there will ever be another story inside of me. And then from somewhere deep and kind, the words flow across the page.
I will spend the rest of my life hearing Cherish by Kool and the Gang and remember the very first night Garland Greenway drove me home in his daddy’s car and my heart beat so fast I thought he would hear it. I will spend the rest of my life seeing C.S. Lewis’ The Problem with Pain and remembering how it walked me through the season of my greatest pain. I will spend the rest of my life remembering how Lord of the Flies introduced me to the power of story. And then I’ll remember, that somewhere, for the rest of someone’s life, my songs, or my stories will be a part of someone’s memories. And I will count that a privilege. We as writers may share our wit, our rawness, or our humanity. But the fact that someone is willing to give their time, their most precious commodity in this life to read it, well, that is a privilege.
Denise Hildreth makes her home in Franklin, TN where she enjoys long walks with her Shih-tzu's Sophie and Maggie, and drinking Coca-Cola with a good friend. www.denisehildreth.com www.denisehildreth.blogspot.com