Here’s one thing I believe with all my heart. Call it fate, God, karma, whatever else you want but the fact is, love will always find its way and, when it’s meant to be, will use any means to its end.
The story is When Time Stands Still by Sara Furlong Burr, an Adult, Contemporary, Romance.
It’s been nearly a decade since Elle Sloan last saw Luke Hutchins. Close to ten years since she broke up with him over a single phone call, providing him with little explanation. Since the end of their relationship, Elle has done everything she could do to move on, marrying, proceeding forward with her life, almost allowing herself to completely forget about Luke.
Out of nowhere, Elle receives a phone call from Luke’s mother. Luke has been in a horrific car accident and, a month later, has just awoken from a coma. However, instead of celebrating, his family is stunned to learn that Luke is suffering from amnesia and only remembers his life as it was before his breakup with Elle. Not wanting to tell Luke that he and Elle aren’t together anymore for fear it may compromise his recovery, Elle is asked by Luke’s family to come to the hospital to see him. Their hope is that she will slowly be able to jog his memory and cushion the blow.
Guilt-ridden over how their relationship ended, Elle readily agrees, finding herself transported back in time with Luke to the life they once shared and the future they could have had together.
Sara “Furlong” Burr was born and raised in Michigan and currently still lives there with her husband, two daughters, a high-strung Lab, and three judgmental cats. When she’s not writing, Sara enjoys reading, camping, spending time with her family, and attempting to paint while consuming more amaretto sours than she cares to admit.
In this story, Elle is ten years older when she gets a chance to go back and fix her mistakes. She’s older, wiser. So I asked Author Sara what she would say to her younger self.
In When Time Stands Still, my protagonist Elle Sloan overcomes a series of life-altering, horrific events, starting in childhood with her mother’s chronic alcohol abuse, only to finally, as an adult, realize that she is worth so much more than the tragic events that have shaped her. Now, thankfully, my life hasn’t been nearly as challenging as Elle’s, but there’s one thing we both have in common: crippling self-doubt.
Like Elle, as an adult, I’ve slowly–so very, very slowly–made great strides in believing in myself and taking risks. Recently, I was diagnosed with melanoma (thankfully, an early stage), which has served to kick me in the pants all the more and made me put myself out there, both in my writing and in my personal life. When you’re faced with adversity, it’s easy to tuck your tail between your legs and run, to take the road traveled by many, rather than the dirt path few dare to tread.
And if I could hop into a time machine and meet my younger self, that’s the advice I would give to her. Take the unpaved path, no matter how ugly it may be, no matter how many people tell you you’ll never make it to the other side. Just take it.
When I was younger, I was average, to say the least. It seemed like no matter what I did, no matter what I accomplished, there was always someone better than me. And you know what, there is always someone better than you, no matter who you are. Such is life. But that doesn’t mean you give up or, worse, don’t even try at all. I wasn’t mature enough or weathered, so to speak, enough then to allow that to sink in. I allowed my own insecurities to strangle me, to beat me down until I actually believed that if I couldn’t be the best, I was a failure. This mentality has, unfortunately, been transferred to my daughter, a vicious cycle that I vow to nip in the bud.
So, younger self, and all my other fellow writers, authors, and anyone else who would just simply like to put their story out there, but who may be too afraid that it won’t be good enough, please know that just because you aren’t the most popular person on the block, just because you don’t get the accolades that may be owed to you, don’t give up. Get up each day and try. Write your story, put it down on paper, send it out, face rejection, and then try again. The only force strong enough to conquer self-doubt is to flat-out ignore it.
In the end, that’s what I did, and my only regret is that I wish I would have done it sooner, while I was still that scared, insecure little girl, who was too concerned with what people thought of her to live the life she always dreamed she could have. Yes, for the past seven years, I have taken the road less traveled and, as Robert Frost concluded so many years ago, it has made all the difference.
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