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NaNoWriMo 2014: Writing what hurts and Chapter 2 of Where the Light Enters

Oliver Page, Emerson's dad

Oliver Page, Emerson’s dad

“All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story.” ~Karen Blixen

There’s a fire scene in my novel, Where the Light Enters. It is based on my fire experience 5 years ago. I almost got trapped in the building and lost nearly all of my belongings. There was no fire escape and to the best of my knowledge the alarms and sprinklers didn’t work. I wrote that passage yesterday. At one point my hands shook and my stomach felt sick. But the scene breathes. It crackles, and that’s exactly what I wanted. And once it was over, I felt free; I hope people who have been in a similar situation will read it and feel free, too.

Below is a snippet from Chapter 2. In it you’ll meet Oliver Page, Emerson’s dad, and learn about his uncommon career and a suspicious contact.

Follow Emerson’s adventures on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook:

“Oliver Page failed his wife, Nora, when she needed him most. As he swiped, tapped, and repositioned images and pieces of text on his touch screen wall, he often felt her working through him. Or at least he felt her try.

In his 25 years as a storied forensic linguist, he’d never had this many dead end leads. Ransom demands, literary forgeries, hostage negotiations, suicide notes. He had cracked the most gruesome cold cases and brought order to legal complications held up in courts for years.

So much for his education pedigree and the accolades that tiled his walls. If he couldn’t vindicate her death and give it meaning, he was a failure.”


About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


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To be a writer is to first be a listener and observer. I often go somewhere—a coffeeshop, a museum, a store—and just tune into the conversations of others. I don’t take out my phone or notebook. I don’t have any purpose other than to listen to what people say, how they say it, and then how people respond to them.

I tried this experiment recently at the @metmuseum. I went to their Astor Chinese Garden Court and sat there for a while as people wandered in and out. It’s a bright and peaceful place in the museum. Good for clearing the mind and opening up the ears.

It was fascinating to see such a diverse set of people come into the space and have a similar experience, of peace and contentment and happiness. It reminded me how hurried and cluttered our lives can become. And it made me more conscious of the power of places that give us time to just be. The expression of “wow” on everyone’s face when they entered the garden made me smile.

As we edge toward 2018 and the cold weather takes us indoors for a few months, I’m looking forward to more of these listening and observing activities. We have so much to learn from each other.

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