“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
—Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
We all know fear can be crippling, preventing us from self-discovery and/or following our dreams.
In my upcoming novel, The Pace of Nature, my character Lilly gets in a school yard accident. She is pushed at recess and falls flat on her forehead. She endures a traumatic brain injury, and from that moment on, requires help when it comes to learning. Lilly has spent years studying one-on-one with doctors and tutors, that when the time comes for her to branch off and study on her own, instead of trying, due to her fear of failing, she gives up and cheats, copying down the answers to her homework assignments from her best friend, April.
It’s not until Lilly is sixteen when her parents wake her from her sleep and drag her into the car, traveling 195 miles until they arrive at the wrought-iron gate surrounding Forge Academy. Her parents drop her off at this therapeutic boarding school where a façade of white-washed propriety hides a rotten interior. telling her if she does well, she’ll be allowed back home in one year.
Lilly is up to her old habits: sneaking into the woods with dorm-mates Nora and Birdie, smoking pot and falling asleep during classes, getting in screaming matches with her nemesis Sandy, and lying to the Dean to keep herself out of trouble.
But after breaking into an office to make a phone call back home, she realizes life has gone on without her. It becomes clear to Lilly that her family doesn’t want her home. This harsh reality makes her aware of the changes she needs to make in order for her family to let her back into their lives. Lilly has no choice but to face her fears and learn how to study independently so she can return home to her family at the end of the year.
With help from her roommate, Shauna, a sweet but troubled senior, and love interest Meisha, a talented piano player who shows her that everyone is capable of finding their own unique potential, Lilly struggles to confront her fears, but is determined to learn how to “sail her own ship.”
Meanwhile, as Lilly is figuring herself out, she struggles to survive through a continuous cycle of unforeseen circumstances at Forge Academy, which makes her journey more challenging, however, through the courage she finds within herself, she no longer fears the storm.
What is your story? What storm have you or your characters survived?
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