Sunday, April 1, 2012

March: The Month of In-Betweens

I spent March In-Between: in between Winter and Spring, in between long drives, in between revisions, in between visits, in between finishing one book and promoting its prequel, in between apartments, in between traveling and building a home, in between one chapter of my life and the next.

(Wow, you know when you write a word so many times that it starts to look foreign, like maybe you haven't spelled it right. That just happened to me and "between." :-P) 

It's not a bad place, but it's definitely busy - and not exactly full of interesting activities.

But today, because I was driving down from Seattle and my mind had a little mental free time, I thought about how many stories have In-Betweens, especially in fantasy and scifi. A place, a portal, or a passage, which is the dividing line between one thing and the other.

For example, Lucy and her siblings must go through the wardrobe to reach Narnia in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Found the image here,
but I think the illustration credit goes to Pauline Baynes.
But my favorite In-Between place from C. S. Lewis is the "Wood Between the Worlds" in The Magician's Nephew, an in-between place filled with trees and with small pond-like pools. Each pool took you to a different world; all you had to do was jump in it.

In The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland (In a Ship of Her Own Making), September passes through the Closet Between Worlds to reach Fairyland.

From "The Beast Below" -
a.k.a. one of my favorite episodes.
You could argue that the Doctor's Tardis is an In-Between (you could also argue that it's a vehicle, though; or if you've watched Series 6, she might also be a person). But it's there at the beginning and end of every adventure.

The In-Between in Spirited Away is the abandoned amusement park Chihiro and her parents stumble upon, and I love the way it felt magic even before any of the creatures appeared.

Alice has her rabbit hole, and her looking glass. Both In-Betweens take her to Wonderland.

Harry Potter's In-Between is the Platform 9 3/4.

Even The Ever Afters has In-Betweens - the first of them is an ordinary red door, which takes Rory to Ever After School for the first time and changes her life forever.

Storytellers love In-Between places. That's where the end of something familiar touches the beginning of something new. They mean change, and change almost always means conflict. Conflict means story.

That's where I am right now. I'm in the middle of a lot of change. I'm sure I've passed through In-Between months before, but this time, I noticed it happening. I paid attention, took notes - I'll use it as book fodder someday.

Right now, here In Between, I'm too close to my story to be able to tell it properly.

Instead, I'll leave you with a quote:

“When in doubt, choose change.” -Lily Leung

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