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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Key

Please welcome guest blogger Eilis Flynn

Keys are interesting. They’re functional (they give you access to your home and keep you and your stuff safe), they can be artistic (you’ve admired skeleton keys, haven’t you? They can be so graceful), they can be metaphorical (you’re all writers, I don’t have to expound on this one, do I?).

For me, keys are also mementoes. For instance, I have a broken house key (actually, I have two, but that’s beside the point) that I keep on my ring. Decades ago, when we lived in Bay Ridge, in southern Brooklyn, I came home one afternoon and inserted that very same key, back when it was intact, into the lock of my apartment’s front door. I must have turned the key a little too sharply (or the metal might have been a tad worn, for all I know) and snap! That was that. The top part of the key got left in the mechanism, and so I was locked out of my second-floor apartment.

My neighbors in the building weren’t home yet, getting in the back door would have involved breaking glass (no key available for that door), my husband wasn’t expected home for hours, the landlord was off-site and not really one of those caring landlords … and I was running out of options. There was one thing left I hadn’t tried: Getting in the window we’d left cracked open, because it was late spring, and if you’ve ever been in New York City in late spring, you know that it can be pretty warm (and sometimes pretty stormy, but fortunately that was not the case here).

That window looked like the only option I had, because these were years long before cell phones (yes, that’s how long ago it was) and my husband was not within a phone. The only trick in getting to that window was that nobody in the immediate neighborhood had a ladder that tall (because as I said, we lived on the second floor, and by then my neighbors all around were getting alerted to my little dilemma), but the good news was that there was a drainpipe. And also fortunately, it was a sturdy drainpipe, which I was still leery about shinnying up, because even though I was a lot younger and a lot thinner back then, drainpipes still weren’t, and aren’t, meant to be used as climbing apparatuses.

But I was out of options. So yes, much to the entertainment of my neighbors (with whom we were acquainted, or else that would have added yet another layer of comedy to the proceedings if someone decided to call the police), to get into my apartment, I shinnied up the drainpipe. My neighbors, good Brooklynites all, applauded when I finally crawled in the window (and back then, I wore these conservative little suits, so the idea of my suited derriere wiggling in probably had even more entertainment value for those who didn’t think much of Wall Street types).

And finally, finally, finally, I was home. I went downstairs, retrieved my sensibly heeled shoes and briefcase, thanked one and all who had nothing better to do than to encourage me in my somewhat rash actions, and collapsed once I got back upstairs.

And what the heck does this have to do with anything? Well, I guess I could tell you it had something to do with the symbolism of the key, how my apartment was the heart of my life blah blah and I had to get in somehow, even if it meant doing something stupid, or how my keeping the key around was symbolic of doing what had to be done, or … well, I’ll tell you what it means.

I like keys. A broken key was interesting. It was a bizarre afternoon, and I got to know my neighbors (in very, very unexpected ways). And yes, it did end up being a symbol of, say, determination. And on occasion, I look at that key and it makes me think of all sorts of things. It gives me inspiration of what I can do, it gives me inspiration for writing stories with unexpected twists, and it gives me inspiration for amusing anecdotes.

Everybody has his or her own version of that key, something that inspires you, something that has symbolic meaning, something that makes you think. What’s yours?

Eilis Flynn has written fantasy, comic books, and financial copy as well as romance. And she much prefers fantasy romance. 

Echoes of Passion

Part of the Hunters for Hire series.
Neotia Prime… The home world of the Neoti and the Vozuans was destroyed by a doomsday device twenty years ago, but the troubles and unrest that led to the event still plague those who resettled on the twin planet.

When Daegon Bosaru arrives on the unnamed world, determined to uncover who is out to smear his dying father’s good name, he discovers that the tragedies of that civil war still haunt those who remain. Not only that, the mysterious, beautiful woman he’s been seeing in his dreams over the past twenty years may have information he needs. But when he finally meets Imreen Dal in the flesh, she seems not to know him—and furthermore, she runs from him every time she encounters him. Why?

Rumors persist that the crazed dictator who set off the doomsday device may still be alive…with fresh plans for conquest. Bosaru needs to find out how his father, the mysterious Imreen and the madman are related…and stop another world from being destroyed.


alanarose said...

I do my best thinking at night. Night would be my key. The inky darkness soothes a raging soul and when I shut my eyes, I become one with the void.

EilisFlynn said...

In that case, don't get locked out of the void!

Anonymous said...

Really good post! When I get home I'm going to have to see what I keep around me as my "key" to inspiration.

EilisFlynn said...

Casey, don't forget to let your imagination wander and see what it comes up with! But if it involves shinnying up a drainpipe, really, don't do it. I was terrified it was going to come off the side of the house at any time!

Laura Bickle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura Bickle said...

I think that my "key" would be a little worry stone I have. It's green aventurine, and has a salamander carved into it. I keep thinking that I'll wear it out someday, since it's developed a crack. Not sure how that happened, or how long it will take until the stone splits.

*Sorry for the double-post!