Awkward Compassion

Awkward Compassion

My day job is in field service for a major copier company.  I arrived at my first call yesterday morning to the site of a fire truck, ambulance, and police cars in front of my customer’s office building.  There was no evacuation, so I went inside.  My contact informed me that someone had a heart attack and it wasn’t looking good.

What do you do at that point?  I was at a loss for words.  I somehow expressed my concern and sympathy.  I don’t remember the exact words.  I didn’t know the victim and my contact was only an acquaintance.  I tried to be sensitive yet remain professional as I went about my work.

My kids will tell you that it doesn’t take much to choke me up.  That morning, whenever I overheard sniffling and hushed words from the victim’s shocked coworkers, I had to force moisture back from my eyes.  I kept thinking about my wife’s first husband who died from a major heart attack at work.  Then I would wonder how the victim’s family was handling the news.  Some of the people around that office were not handling it well.  I wanted to reach out and comfort people, most of whom I didn’t know at all.  It was not my place in my role as technician.  It would have been rude to cross those social barriers.

That brings me to my role as a writer.  While my words may not bring comfort for specific situations like that, it is my hope that my characters bring encouragement, hope, and inspiration.  In some scenes, that could involve a strong emotional response.  I admit that some scenes I have written have brought tears to my own eyes (no tears in the writer = no tears in the reader).  My hope is that my writing stays fresh, interesting, and moving.  I don’t want to preach, but I do want to impact.

You writers out there, what are some of the ways you do that?  How do you pull at your readers heart strings?

Readers, what grabs your attention?  What moves you?  How do scenes like that affect you in the long run?

Feel free to link to book reviews that you have done that would illustrate your responses.  Let’s get a conversation going @solanowriting on Facebook and Instagram (links on the homepage).

PS: I have been encouraged to do some book reviews here (I read a lot).  Would you read them?