Reading a good book takes my breath away. I'm sure that sounds trite coming from a writer, but when I find a book that I wish I had written, where the words just carry me along, I find it inspiring and breathless. I reading one now. It's by Dean Koontz and I like all his books.
Other things that can take my breath away are a good love story (movie). I keep watching The Lake House over and over. The story is simple and complex. It's complex because of what I am inferring with the plot; the father-son tug of war, the love of two brothers, the need to find that one true woman who will complete your life and the willingness to move heaven or hell (or in this case time) to make it happen. it's simple because it's boy meets girl, boy gets girl.
The unconditional love of a child is a miracle, a wonder, and a breathless encounter. No matter how bad your day had been, the simple act of small arms around you neck can put everything into perspective.
Friends succeeding or trying, giving it their all to do something that's not easy and may even be impossible, but they keep trying. In time maybe their tiny movement or change of persepctive on one person will have the same effect as moving a meteor on a collison course with the earth one tiny centimeter, making it miss the planet by thousands of miles. I have a very good friend who never misses the chance to try and set a child on a positive course. She's a judge and it's not from the bench that she dispenses advice, but from a face-to-face conversation allowing the child to speak his or her mind. Who know how many ripples that affect can have?
There are so many things that can make me breathless, but the last one I'll mention follows an old television program's tag line -- I love it when a plan comes together. There are thousands of directions to take a book, a character, a story. But when you get to the last page, whether you're reading or writing it, and you have that long sigh of breath (ahhh) that signifies contentment, you understand completely what breathless is. Page one has become The End. Oh what a feeling. It happens every time.