I’ve been feeling guilty lately because my life has gotten in the way of my writing. What? I know I love to write but I also love living my life. In fact, my life is the source material so-to-speak for my work as a writer. I told myself to take the summer off and just enjoy, but it gnaws at me they urge to write and the avoidance of writing. The push and pull of it. But there are things that really get in the way. Important things, fun things. First, I spent a week in Ireland. The Galway area then Dublin. The sights were outstanding, magical. A road called the Wild Atlantic Way takes you on adventure of green rolling hills, arid hills, wandering sheep, Celtic ruins, remnants of forgotten monasteries and of course the magnificent Atlantic Ocean. One does in Dublin what all tourists do in Dublin, visit pubs and listen to music. Brings out the best in humanity.
Then a most wondrous thing happened. My grandson was born. A big fella at 8.lbs and 8oz. Of course, I flew out to see him. Held him in my arms and kissed his sweet cheeks. Got to see my beloved granddaughter and my son and his wife as well. Icing on the cake.
Now, I plan to visit Israel with two of my kids and my other granddaughter. Then on to Greece. A major trip for two+ weeks. Lots to take in, lots to wonder at. One of the wonders of the world, in fact. Petra, Jordan is on the itinerary that my son planned.
So writing will have to wait because my fabulous life is giving me experiences I am blessed to have. I am grateful and cherish my life. I know I’m one of the lucky ones and I’m thankful. So I’ll write when I can as I live the best life ever.
When I start a new writing project, I just jump in. I have an overall idea but not particulars. This sometimes gets scary because the narrative is in the details. How do I get from here to there? It just happens as I write. I start a sentence and it leads to another. I have an idea and it leads to another. One sentence a a time, one paragraph at a time that leads to a chapter, then another. Slowly it unfolds by itself. I am led in a direction…somehow. New characters pop up…somehow. I never do a story board, never write out the plot and characters. I sit down and write and the story comes to me. It’s a scary endeavor. I am at the mercy of the cosmos. Will the ideas come? Everyday, I wonder, will they come?
For my latest book, I got inspiration from something I read (I can’t remember where) about a love story plot. But it stayed with me. As I was swimming in the lake the arc of the story came to me. It was comforting and satisfying that the conflict between my two main characters came to me and I’m encouraged now that the details will come. It’s fun to explore the plot unfolding as I write. Have it emerge from the ether as I write. It is mind-boggling. And I am grateful for this gift.
A saying I have on a paperweight: Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. I can add–Gratitude can turn sentences and paragraphs into a novel.
Today I got some disappointing news from an indie accreditation site. I was blindsided because my book got a fairly good review from Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, and my local paper. Alas, in publishing you can’t please every one. I loved the Goldfinch but a friend hated it and couldn’t finish it. I thought A Gentleman in Moscow was brilliant and it received it’s share of scathing reviews (thousands of good ones though). What confuses me is When a Stranger Comes… is more of a fantasy, magical realism tale in the tradition of Stephen King. For example, in one of his books his main character travels back to 1963 through a portal in a diner. For my book, the unflattering comments were that the plot wasn’t plausible. Can you believe it? My MC is transported to an alternate universe, the characters from her novels appear in the flesh and she makes a pact with the Devil. Yeah, it’s not plausible. That’s the point. It’s a trip to a make-believe world, a flight of fancy, a mind game to make some points about our real world where we are obsessed with the material. That we as humans are greedy and ignorant of how our greed is destroying our planet and ourselves.
I know, I should focus on the accolades and there have been those. I know I should focus on readers who totally got the point of this book. But I keep wanting all readers to love my work, to be incentivized to write good reviews, to tell their friends they found a good book. So I get a disappointed by a negative response and it hurts. I’ve got to get a thicker skin. I’ve got to not care. I really have a great life whether or not my writing gets noticed by the masses.
Live is good. Life is a miracle. I’m an excellent writer.