Nov 9 2013

Why do I write?

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To paint a picture. A picture that gives real perspective. A perspective that goes beyond our Sunday best and drives us into the heart of others.

For the last several years, since I started taking this writing journey seriously, I’ve asked myself this question often.Whatever you may think the writing life looks like, you’re probably wrong. No disrespect. Just saying.

Writers stare at the screen and wrestle. We wrestle with words. With plots and characters. And we wrestle with self-doubt. Which is perhaps the greatest understatement of the century. Self-doubt sounds like something you find in a Disney movie. But what I’m talking about is the kind of crippling uncertainty that renders a person slightly unstable.

So why do it?

I’ve heard responses that are close to the mark. “I’m ruined to do anything else.” “I love to write so much I can’t not write.”

But I stumbled today on my reason. An epiphany of sorts. I’ve danced around the idea for a couple years but it hit me square between the eyes today.

David and I finished watching a movie this morning. End of Watch. I still have tears streaming down my face. A movie about two LAPD officers who are ambushed. One of the partners is killed. We watched the graphic portrayal of his end of watch. The scenes are heart wrenching and the cop sitting next to me kept saying, “That’s so real.”

You can take the man out of the uniform but you can’t take the uniform out of the man. We sat and watched pieces of our reality play out on screen. It was more than a movie. It was a realistic portrayal of the life of a cop.

So why do I write?

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My first novel, “Distressed” which releases soon, is a story about what a cop life can do to a marriage. To a family.

More than anything, I want the world to see. To see and smell and feel what it might be like to walk in another person’s reality. We have all been taught to walk a mile in another person’s shoes but how often do we actually take the time to do that?

What if you could read a book that put you in another person’s shoes? What if you could read a story and really see and feel the life of someone else? The characters and plot may not be reality but the emotion is. And it’s universal.

So why do I write?

I write to move people from their comfortable into the hurting world. Anyone can sympathize, or imagine what someone else might be feeling. But the well of humanity is much deeper than that.

Sympathy wipes a tear, but empathy embraces.

I write because I want to feel what others are feeling. And I write because I hope others want the same thing.

 


Feb 1 2013

Life is Full of Misconceptions

the yellow brick road

the yellow brick road

Misconception #1: My parents are perfect and life is fair.

Misconception #2: My parents don’t know anything and life is way unfair.

Misconception #3: I will be a perfect parent.

Misconception #4: (After having a child) Misconception #2 was way off. Life is indeed unfair but perhaps my parents knew a great deal more than I was willing to give them credit for during the throws of teenage hormonal imbalance.

Misconception #5: Having a literary agent guarantees publication.

I have taken a sort of unannounced sabbatical from blogging over the past few weeks. Granted, there has been a great deal of change in our lives recently but the lack of posts has had more to do with my confrontation of misconception #5.

Perhaps I should be embarrassed to admit such ignorance. But seeing as this isn’t the worst of my naiveté, it seems safe to share. Deep down inside, I honestly believed that once I secured an agent, I would become a published author. And I thought I was being reasonable. I waited for months. It seems to me that if another human can take shape and form in the void in ten months, an editor can pick my book for publication in less time.

Oh wait, I think I just discovered Misconception #6: The editing process is timely.

Anyway, I received another rejection yesterday. “We like your writing, blah, blah, blah, but the story is too dark.” The story happens to be about PTSD. And yes, it’s dark. I lived it. I remember.

In the face of yet another rejection I had to finally confront misconception #5. And let me just say that this blog is in no way a slight against my agent. She didn’t write the dark story that no one wants. She’s just doing her job. (nothing but love, K)

So my first book may not make it down the golden road of publication. (Misconception #7: The road to publication is paved in gold.) But maybe there’s another story in me.

I wonder if I have confused my misconceptions as failure. If I believed that I would be published and then I wasn’t, isn’t that a reflection of my ability? Yeah, it has felt like failure. They don’t like my story, they don’t like me, I’m not really a writer…spiral, spiral, spiral.

“Pilot to co-pilot, I smell smoke.”

And so I stopped writing. Or blogging. (Which is kind of like fast food writing.)

But just as I learned to overcome the misconceptions I had regarding parenting, maybe it’s time I grew up in the writing world too. Having an agent doesn’t mean I’m necessarily closer to publication. I think maybe it means that God knows I wouldn’t or couldn’t do this without a cheerleader. Which annihilates another misconception.

Misconception # who’s keeping track: I am super woman and can do anything and I don’t need anyone’s help.

How about you? Do you suffer under the delusions of misconceptions?