Epiphanies are not just fodder for writing fiction, although of course they do a lot of heavy work in our stories. But epiphanies are real. We all have them. I have not had many true epiphanies for a person my age (74), and I’m wondering if that’s unusual. Anyway, I invite you to share your favorite epiphany here in a comment. Here is mine.
I was 22 or so and living in an apartment with a roommate. One evening we sat around with our dates and played with a balloon. This was one of those huge thick-skinned balloons with big rubber bands attached, you could buy them at a drug store and bat them around with your fist, sort of like paddleballs. We were also drinking. At one point, we stopped fooling around with the balloon and rested it on the coffee table. Sometime later, the balloon lifted off by itself and swanned around the room, making a prolonged farting noise and knocking pictures off the walls, before deflating and coming to rest on the floor. We all found this so hilarious that we blew up the balloon again and again, just to watch its comic antics. There was no Internet then.
The following week I stopped off at my parents’ for a visit. I brought the magical balloon to show them. My mother was busy, but Dad was in the sunroom watching a football game. I sat down next to him and asked him to turn the volume down for just a minute because I had something amazing to show him. He smiled pleasantly and did as I asked.
He watched as I blew up the balloon. This took a while, because it was huge. When I got it almost to the point where I could demonstrate its farting, room-swanning powers, it exploded. Not a pop, an explosion, because the skin was so thick. It sounded like a gunshot. Neither of us said anything. Dad turned back to the TV, and I got up and left the room.
Here, then, was my epiphany:
You raise a daughter and she goes out in the world, and then she comes into your home and makes you watch her explode a huge balloon. And so it goes.