Okay — fess up.
What’s the enigma that keeps you wondering, the one riddle for which it seems there is absolutely no answer?
Is it the perennial question of where socks go to disappear? Mundane, but maddening. The headache over why, all of a sudden, your dishwasher doesn’t clean your dishes? Vicki Doudera here, and I’ll admit that I’ve got that happening right now. Or is it something more personal, such as why your friend found a brain tumor on Easter and is now undergoing treatments to beat her “under a year” life expectancy?
Life is full of these mysteries – some of them annoying and small; others unfathomable and deep. How could my father have abandoned me? Where is the child I gave up for adoption? Let’s face it – for many of these questions, there will never be an answer. They are unsolvable. No resolution will come — at least in this life.
Is this why we crave a well-crafted mystery on paper, one that we can hold in our hands and either solve ourselves or “watch” get solved? Many people think so, and I’m in the camp that agrees with them. Our helter-skelter lives have so many loose ends, and yet reading a mystery makes us feel those ends can be joined and explained. Out of chaos can come order.
We long to find answers, but let’s face it – sometimes, in real life, it’s impossible. The dog disappears and is never heard from again. The mother goes to her grave with a family secret no one could pry from her lips.
Yet we can pick up a book and feel a sense of order, control, and satisfaction that eludes us in our day-to-day existence..
What is the mystery that you cannot solve? Does it inform your writing? Do you think reading mysteries can help us deal with our feelings of helplessness?