Plot twists, dark roads and happy travels

By Geri Dreiling

Path Twist at Castlewood Park

I love plot surprises. An unexpected twist allows me to see a character from an entirely different perspective. Sudden new revelations can make me look at a story in a completely different way. Anyone who has watched The Crying Game, Sixth Sense or even The Empire Strikes Back knows what I mean.

But plot twists in real life aren’t always so pleasant. Unexpected events can threaten our dreams and dash our happy endings. In those moments, we are faced with confronting a present that was not what we expected and a future much different than what we had originally planned. In those moments, we must re-write our life’s script and redefine what a happy ending means.

The revisions are neither quick nor easy. But they represent opportunities for growth, for learning and, yes, even humor.

This blog, Second Draft, is inspired by twists that I could not have imagined twenty years ago. For me, the title has multiple meanings.

On a fundamental level, Second Draft is a writer’s reference. My posts — which are really a collection of essays on travel, daily life and personal growth – are essentially the second, well, maybe even third, drafts of my writing. The title is, in some ways, my writer’s disclaimer. The posts are not perfectly polished gems but, rather, a work in progress that I am releasing to the world, flaws and all.

Second Draft refers to a stage in life. After nearly 20 years of marriage, I am now single. Was it amicable? Yes…mostly. Was it easy? No. There is simply no pain-free way to end a marriage. This blog is not a retelling of a marriage. Rather, it is about what comes after.

I am the mother of two teens preparing to make their own way into life. After about five-and-half years of constant use, I happily trashed the diaper pail over 12 years ago. Car pools to ChuckECheese birthday parties, Girl Scout field trips and Little League baseball games no longer dominate my schedule. Instead, my world is one in which I reluctantly pass my car keys to children who I refuse to believe are old enough to drive and then I search for Zen – and my GPS phone tracker app – at 1 am because curfew was midnight and someone is not yet home.

Second Draft also refers to the fact that some of these events occurred in the past and I am only now writing them down. They are posts that were composed in my head long before they were typed onto the page. They begin with my travels in 2011, part of a process that helped me catch glimpses of light when I felt consumed by the dark. It was also the period when I began making an effort to uncover bits and pieces of myself that I had gotten lost along the journey. I explored new ways to bring peace and joy into my life. I found solace in exercise, work, gardening and making liberal use of what I like to call chain saw therapy.

I still haven’t figured out exactly how I will write my new ending but I do know that I want it to be happy – not only for me but for my children, for their father and for all those who mean so much to me.