All stories, in my experience, begin with a spark of an idea. It can come from anywhere. An image, a line of dialogue, a problem in need of a solution. For The Harder We Fall, the spark came from one simple, but endlessly intriguing, question: What if?
It all began when I decided to start a meditation practice in an attempt to calm the voice inside my head. You know the voice. It’s the annoying one that prattles on incessantly. It narrates your day or replays old arguments or reminds you that you really should be writing right now, Rebecca! Ugh. I had to make it stop.
One trip to the Google Play Store later, I downloaded a free meditation app made right here in Australia and got started. My eyes were closed. My legs were folded. I sat up nice and straight with my hands palm up on my knees. And I listened.
The voice on the app introduced me to the benefits of meditation and how to go about it. It was a nice voice. Male. Slightly rough. Pleasant. I liked the voice. It was easy to listen to.
And then I wondered… What if there was a man who listened to a meditation app and became enthralled with the voice he heard? What if he was intoxicated by the voice? Seduced by it. And then, what if he had the chance to meet the man behind the voice? How would he react?
Before long, the questions began piling up and I was off on a hunt for the answers. Tristan’s journey took me to a lot of places I didn’t expect to go based off those initial questions. There was a lot of sadness, but also moments of laughter. Let’s just say, Tristan didn’t turn out to be thrilled by the way Sam was able to ‘manipulate’ him with his vocal cords.
I wish I could say my meditation practice is going strong and my voice is quieter than it used to be. I can’t. But the experience of giving it a shot did lead me to a story that became much deeper and more meaningful to me than I ever would have thought possible based on its spark. For that I’ll always be grateful.
Sometimes, I imagine that much of the clamour in my head comes from the voices of the characters who need their stories told. If so, Tristan would have been a pretty loud contributor. He was a man in desperate need of peace. With Sam’s help, he was finally able to find it. So perhaps, in some small way, my head is a little quieter now, after all.