On top of my china cabinet is a dish once held by my great-great-grandmother. It isn’t fine china and it isn’t in mint condition. It was well-used and shows it. I hold the dish in my hands and think about the generations of hands that held it before me—before it became a family treasure—back when a woman’s loving hands set it on the table filled with food to feed her hard-working family. The dish would’ve been passed around the table for each family member to take a portion and pass it on. Then later, she stood at the kitchen sink to wash this same dish with the detergent bubbles tickling her arms. She probably rinsed the dish and handed it to someone—a daughter, a mother, a husband—perhaps with a smile, maybe a casual remark, to dry it before putting it back into its place in the cabinet.
So I hold the dish in my hands and wonder about those people and their lives, and the experiences of love, joy, sorrow, and anger that passed through those lives even as the dish was passed from hand to hand, from generation to generation. There is an undeniable similarity in the beats of our lives, past and present, but the same basic plots? Yes, perhaps, except that it’s new to the person who experiences it. When love strikes or heartbreak follows, it’s new and unique to that person.
Each person whose hands held the dish before me had a story. It was a story retold over and over, and the reader may consciously or subconsciously respond to the common chord, but it was HER story, HER heart, HER life. Each time it was lived, it was lived anew for the first time, every time.
As it should be with the stories we write.
As a reader, what kind of stories do you like best?
Grace Greene is a USA Today Bestselling Author of sweet romance, romantic suspense, and women's fiction. She writes two series: Emerald Isle, NC Stories, and Virginia Country Roads. Please visit her at www.gracegreene.com and sign up for her newsletter.