NOW IS THE TIME
July 20th I will be doing a radio interview with Fran Lewis along with some talented and wonderful authors. I feel it is an honor to be included with such writers. I am going to try to do several blogs and share some of what it took to make Journey Home a reality. I have no idea what all I may come up with to write, but I hope that you will join me.
Thinking about the radio interview with Fran Lewis on July 20th and talking about the novel I wrote Journey Home brought back many memories. I want to do and write so many things but still get tired so easily. When they talk about being a cancer survivor they forget to mention that there are times it takes a lot just to survive and I want more than that. I want to live. Writing and being able to make the things that I write into books I have a chance to share with others is so important to me. It helps me to not only feel alive but as if I am doing something with my life. It is more than selling books…it is proof that dreams can come true and we should never give up.
Thinking again of that reminds me of what all it took to make Journey Home what it is today. I have to go way back if I want to start at the beginning. Maybe it is time to tell all of it. Maybe it is time to find words for emotions, and times and life. Maybe NOW IS THE TIME to begin the journey through memories of the book called Journey Home.
Since my baby is now 26 years old it has been some time since she came home with a school assignment but that is when all of this started. I have written all of my life. Many years ago poetry all rhymed. I would work to find a way to make the thoughts and feelings rhyme to say in short verses feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and memories. I never did keep a journal or diary but these verses were the documentation of many things. I had written several short stories but never presumed I could write a novel. I was not a writer. I was and am just me.
My daughter came in from school perplexed and claiming there was no way she could do what she had to do for school. She was terribly upset. My brother in-law and his wife had given us a computer to help with what ever we needed especially her school work. She is very intelligent and many of her classes had advanced studies. A computer was a God send and he gave it freely gifting not only something of value in monetary worth but in the ability to achieve, succeed, and learn.
My daughter is a person that can achieve what ever she puts her mind to and wants to accomplish. She has great organizational skills, people skills, working with the public, problem solving, assessing and organization, technical issues, and normally filled with confidence and enthusiasm…except a few of the things that I am so intense about such as art, crafts, and writing. She does what she must in those areas with competency but not enthusiasm. A short story???
She claimed that she could not do it. I laughed and said that we had been doing it for years. We have a large yard with huge trees that drop limbs with every storm. If I told the kids they had to clean the yard it would not have been a smiling affair. I would tell them ...if I could only find a few limbs we could have a bonfire and roast hotdogs for supper. The yard was cleaned in no time and there was a big fire.
They and their friends and the neighbors and friends would often gather and we sat around the fire talking. I had written a poem about a haunted pumpkin field that is a whole other story but often used it to initiate conversation, discussion, and provoke thoughts and emotions. Each and every line of the poem is written so it can be used for more than telling a story to entertain…it can teach, open communication, help with childhood fears and even reach adults with adult problems. It is more than a story in a book. It is a doorway to so much more.
We would also do a story….. I would say something such as “Once upon a time a long time ago there was a (boy, girl, man or woman) who walked down a path into the woods right there…right back of where we sit right now. Do you know what he or she found or saw? Do you know what happened during that little walk in the woods?
They all sat with big eyes listening intently. They shook their little heads no…they did not know the story. That is because it is a story. We will make a story ourselves and it is YOUR turn. I would point to who ever sat next to me and repeat the last line and say it is your turn. What happened next?
One by one their imaginations fired up and they came up with the story one little person at a time. In the process they shared their thoughts and feelings and had a good time. That is a short story even if it is a collaborative effort.
I told my daughter she could do it. She has done it for years. What if???? Then what???? We discussed what it takes to make a story a story. It takes a protagonist or central character and then some kind of difficulty. What and how they overcome that and who and what they are can start your story.
She went on to write a story that got not only an A but the teacher’s recommendation that she should publish it. It was then that she turned to me with such an intensity and said, “Mom, why don’t you write short stories? Why don’t you write more? I know that you can. You should do it. Write it.”
My husband Albert, was on her side and also encouraged me saying that he believed in me. Why not? We had the computer and that made it so easy.
Easy????? I did not really even know how to type. She had said, “If I can do it I know that you can….do it. I really want to see what you can do. Will you?” How could I resist? One little letter at a time, and one little word ….I started my short story….my short story.
I had to develop a central character for the story. I wanted someone who was real. I wanted her to have feelings, heart and soul. She knew what pain was in life, disappointment and also joy and love and family. She was not simple…she was a complexity of life and all that comes with it and so are we all. Life is not easy. We never find everything coming up roses. We have challenges, trials, hopes, dreams, laughter, love, joy and heartbreak. We have to be strong enough to withstand these things and go on and try to find a way to live the best that we can. Her name is Lara. She was the character for the short story that did not end for 568 pages.
I had told my daughter to think of a central character and then ask yourself what problem does she have and how does she react? What happens? How will she solve the problem? Then think of how you will create her. What does she look like? How does she dress or act? Why does she do and say or react as she does? Are there things in her past that influence her? Create the character and create the scene.
She asked me what do I do then? I told her to just go with the story. She already knows who and what they are and why then decide if this or that happens how they would they likely react? What would they do and say?
That is a beginning and how I began. One little letter of each little word hunt and pecked out to form thoughts and words. She turned in her short story and finished the class and graduated with honors. I kept on writing. It was the story that did not end. I wanted to make the characters and circumstances as real as possible. I wanted it to be special. It was something from me. My husband kept saying that he believed in me. He thought I could do it. My daughter said the same thing.
I was still not a writer. I was a mother, wife, homemaker, housekeeper, and what ever was needed by others. I had to be…who else would be? I was what others needed but had never been me. I had never done for me what I wanted to do….but they told me I could….they believed in me…..I kept on trying and doing…..and writing.
The short story that became a novel. The words on the pages that became a book. There was a lot in between. That is what I want to share here. I want to share it all…no matter how it sounds….this is real. These are my words, thoughts, feelings and heart.
This is my voice. I once said that I did not want to die in silence and alone. That is how I felt with my life. I was at that time alone and dieing. I have numerous health problems. Even as a child I was always sick. I have even been in research centers and that is a whole other story. Life has not been easy but I have had this compulsion or desire to reach out and let others know that it is all right. We can make it. We can do it. We do not need to give up….Not Today. I wanted to make a difference. I want to live and be alive.
When they said that the cancer had spread and was growing rapidly in really bad areas…I knew more than the doctors here knew how badly things could go. I have been on life support more than once and at one time they gave up and said I would be a vegetable. I am still here but do not underestimate how fragile life can be. Now is my time and this is my life. These books are a symbol of what life can be…Never give up…you can do it…what ever your dreams are you have to believe you can if you are willing to work hard, believe, and try. Have a little faith.
JOURNEY HOME was a dream come true to reach out and have a voice….to never give up…to keep heart and try…..Journey Home is only the start….I am not giving up….I am alive and living.