My “Aha!” Moments, or, Life Imitates Art
Like many writers, I’ve spent a lot of time studying the craft of writing. Recently as I was reviewing my notes I came across a discussion of a particular kind of plot point that is found in many books and movies. It’s often my favorite part of a story, and I think that’s because I’ve seen it happen in my own life as well.
It’s called the “Moment of Clarity” or the “Aha! Moment.” It’s the moment when the hero (or heroine) realizes what their journey has been about. They have gained a greater understanding of themselves or their situation; they see things in a new and clearer light. Their original goal might even fall by the wayside as something new and better takes its place. They become better people, stronger people, and at times (depending on the story) nobler people. This usually happens late in the story and is a sign of how the character has grown and changed.
For example, think of the moment in Titanic when Rose knows she can never be happy in her constricting life of privilege, so she jumps off the lifeboat in order to join the man she loves. Or the end of Casablanca, when Rick, who once only lived for himself (“I stick my neck out for nobody,” he says at the beginning of the film) gives up his love and dedicates his life to a nobler cause (beating the Nazis).
In the real world this can happen many times over the course of our lives. I’ve even had two times when an “Aha!” moment came to me during a movie I was watching! In those films the heroine’s moment of clarity so spoke to where I was in my own life that it became my moment of clarity as well.
The first was in the late 1980s when I was flying across country and the movie they showed on the airplane was Crossing Delancey. In that movie, the heroine spent a lot of time crushing on a hot-shot, high-brow author, an “intellectual” she thinks has all the qualities she wants. But by the end of the film she realizes she has truly fallen in love with a humble pickle merchant—the very man her interfering relatives and the old-fashioned matchmaker were trying to pair her with in the first place.
Her moment of clarity mirrored mine perfectly: sometimes the love of your life doesn’t come in the exact package you were expecting. I rarely cry at movies (not even the “tear-jerkers”), and yet at the end of this film I was shedding happy tears because it had hit me on such a personal level. Shortly after this I became engaged to a man I already knew but had not really “dated”—someone who had few of the outward qualifications I had been looking for, but he was a wonderful man whose heart and soul meshed with my own. (Now married 23 years and counting!)
The second movie was Persuasion, the 1995 version with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root. I came across it at a low ebb in my life, and it had a huge impact on me. I know the famous kiss at the end was not in Jane Austen’s original, but I’m glad it’s there. To me it perfectly encapsulates that moment when they are going to forget about what everyone else thinks and take hold of the love they know is right.
Seeing how Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth finally got together after so many years and despite all the people working against them was incredibly inspiring to me. I had been holding back from some things I wanted to pursue because I had been accepting bad advice from well-intentioned people. When I saw that movie I realized it was time to live my own life. I made some drastic changes that I have profited by ever since. In fact, to this day my personal subtitle for Persuasion is “Don’t Let the B***ds Get You Down.” Not very elegant, I know, but so true!
These two movies may not seem like anything above average, but they will always hold a special place in my heart because I saw them at a time when they really resonated with me.
So how about you? Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that spoke to you in such a way, where you said, “Yes! That’s me!” and that spurred an “Aha!” moment of your own?
Margaret Vaughn is the wealthiest heiress in London—or so everybody thinks. Saddled with debts and facing financial and social humiliation, she finds an unlikely savior in Tom Poole . . . After surviving a shipwreck and amassing a fortune in the gold fields of Australia, Tom Poole is the toast of London society. Yet despite his new found fame, he’s never forgotten his own humble beginnings. When he learns of Margaret’s plight, he offers her financial assistance—but his interest is not strictly business. This rugged adventurer now seeks a different kind of gold. Although many men pursue Margaret’s hand because of her beauty and lands, can Tom convince her it’s her heart he’s after?
Jennifer is giving away a copy of her latest release, A Lady Most Lovely, the winner’s name to be drawn from those who comment. International welcome.
Check back on Sunday to see if you’ve won a copy of this fabulous book!
Author Bio: Jennifer Delamere
The youngest child of a Navy pilot and a journalist, Jennifer acquired a love of adventure and an excitement for learning that continues to this day. She’s lived in three countries and traveled throughout the United States. Her debut novel An Heiress at Heart was chosen by Grand Central Publishing to be the first inspirational romance for their Forever imprint and was nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. Her second novel, A Lady Most Lovely, will be released September 24, 2013 and has already earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Jennifer loves reading classics and histories, which she mines for the vivid details to bring to life the people and places in her books. She resides with her husband in North Carolina—where, when not dreaming up romantic adventures for her characters, she can be found fantasizing about her next European vacation. For more information about Jennifer’s books, blog, and mailing list, visit www.jenniferdelamere.com.