Back in 1990 I decided to write a science fiction story called, “The Sleeping Lion” based on an idea that I had. The story is about a young woman named Kelly who lives with an abusive boyfriend. She escapes for an evening hike in the mountains to find a meteor hurtling into her path. It crashes, but then she finds that it’s not a meteor.
Of course, as with most of my stories, there has to be an animal with a primary role in the story. In this one, it is Art, a Somali cat.
I had plenty of experience with some of the subject matter — including life in Colorado with an abusive boyfriend. Spending weekends hiking up in the mountains in Estes Park was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had — nasty boyfriend notwithstanding.
About five years after the Colorado stint, and when I decided to write the story, I was in Michigan and married. Unfortunately my taste in men hadn’t improved a whole lot. He was still abusive, only in more subtle (therefore longer-lasting and ultimately more damaging) ways. Because he was essentially a rocket scientist, I was able to glean some good information from him for the story.
I didn’t have any luck in the publishing world at that point, so the book lay inactive for years, until just recently when I dug it out again, rather accidentally.
Though it is a sci-fi story about a crashing meteor, “The Sleeping Lion” is ultimately about relationships, with the central theme being about personal inner strength. It is a message I keep re-exploring. I don’t seem to consciously realize it, but it appears that my deepest desire is to be strong. I admire strength which doesn’t sacrifice kindness, empathy which doesn’t sacrifice dignity.
In reading it, I was happy to note that I have changed, mainly in that there is no way I would now put up with that kind of treatment from anyone.
I knew that my writing skills have also matured, but I still have much to learn. It is, however, still an entertaining read.
I especially liked revisiting Art, my long-lost Somali cat, and the trails in Estes Park. I need to get back there someday. I hope that, unlike me, they haven’t changed too much.
“The Sleeping Lion” is also available on Kindle.