Day Three: Start something I’m scared of.
I’ve always wanted to write a book or screenplay based on my high school years in Hawaii, but I wasn’t sure what the driving story would be, or who the characters should be, and so on, so I always felt overwhelmed and afraid of taking the first step.
Today, I started.
Here’s the first page I wrote:
She exited the jetway and walked into the open air terminal. The thickness of the air enveloped her like a spiderweb. It was sweet and heavy and after a few syrupy breaths she realized that beads of sweat were forming on her forehead and upper lip so she removed her sweater and let the tropical air settle in to her skin. The length of their journey from the east coast had worn them all down to where their senses were dulled, but the overwhelming floral scent woke them up enough to lift their weary eyelids and admire their new environment. Flowers and greenery seemed to be everywhere, growing alongside the walkways and strung up in beautiful loops, offered for sale by small, dark-skinned women wearing loose, colorful dresses (she would later learn these are called muumuus, a Hawaiian word for “cut off” because the dresses were made without yokes so the missionaries wouldn’t be so hot in the tropical heat). Looking out beyond the airport, to one side was a wall of green, mossy mountains, and to the other side, nothing…just sky and clouds and…home. No, she had to remind herself, this is now our home. For the next three years, anyway. What lay across the miles of ocean used to be home but now it’s just a memory. There is no going back to the life I had in Virginia. She wondered what her friends were doing at that moment…their time was now 6 hours ahead of hers. Not only had she physically been removed from her friends but now they lived in different time zones. The sight of the exotic flowers in the terminal and the new smells emanating from food stalls were her wake up call that “this ain’t Kansas, Dorothy.” Hawaii may be a state of the United States of America, but it was the exotic, distant cousin to all the white-bread family members back on the mainland. She wondered if Alaska had the same, isolated feeling of being so geographically removed from the rest of the USA. As she would learn soon enough, many of the people of Hawaii felt as remote as the state itself, wary (and perhaps weary) of visitors. To them, she was essentially a three-year tourist.