Life imitating art

I just finished reading Karen Kingsbury’s latest novel, Coming Home. Without giving too much away, there’s a scene in the book in which the driver of an 18-wheeler falls asleep at the wheel and causes a wreck.

I experienced a bizarre case of life imitating art this past weekend. I had to work in Dallas, so I was headed up I-45 from Houston. Just past Madisonville, traffic came to a standstill. I waited a few minutes and still no forward movement, not even a slow crawl at 5 miles an hour.

One at a time, other drivers began to climb out of their vehicles and head for the side of the freeway, hoping to glance a glimpse of the holdup. Then emergency vehicles came creeping along the shoulder. Finally, we got the word that – you guessed it – the accident involved an 18-wheeler.  Two eighteen-wheelers, no less.

By this time, traffic had been piling up behind me for more than 30 minutes. Several drivers decided to try their luck on the feeder road.

Just as I was considering the same, I saw the release of brake lights ahead of me. Emergency personnel had cleared just enough room on the shoulder of the freeway to allow a single lane of traffic to pass.

As I passed by the scene of the accident, I got a clearer picture of what happened. It appeared one 18-wheeler rear-ended another. The front end of the second truck was completely smashed in, although it didn’t appear there were any injuries.

My mind instantly flashed back to Coming Home. Is this the scene Karen Kingsbury had in mind while she was writing? I don’t know, but I do know that’s what great authors do. They paint such a vivid picture that it’s instantly recognizable should you happen to witness it in real life.

They make you care about the characters; rejoicing with them in times of happiness; weeping with them in times of sadness – almost as if they were flesh and blood people.

They immerse you in the plot lines, hanging on to every twist and leaving you wanting more.

That’s the power of a story.

Let’s talk: What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?

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