Since grade school I have suffered in silence from an incurable debilitating condition, the dreaded “Writing Sickness”. It goes into remission now and again and sometimes for long periods of time, years even. Sooner or later, it comes back and when it does I spend hours shut away in my room with only brief necessary interruptions…the call of nature, the need for sustenance and the lure of alcohol. Wine to be exact. I adore writing. What’s more, I love to write to entertain. To entertain myself and others.
I was about 12 years old when I wrote my first actual story, with plot, characters, beginning and ending. I can’t even begin to remember what it was about but I do know it was good enough for an “A” in English, an ‘atta girl” from Mr. Fritz the teacher, and great applause from my classmates. As a farm girl from rural Kentucky (I know what you’re thinking but yes, there are parts of Kentucky that are NOT rural), I constructed worlds in which I lived through my stories and also through my music. I am a classically trained singer and performed for many years in my younger days so I have always used my imagination and creativity liberally. My dreams were larger than the farm. I loved my family but I knew I belonged elsewhere. Since I could not physically go away from the farm, I used writing to do it for me.
With fiction I traveled to places that existed only in my mind. I could imagine complete worlds down to the smallest detail while I worked in the garden chopping weeds, feeding the cows or setting tobacco. It was my escape from a dull, normal world. It still is.
I love manipulating words. I love making people see the things I see, feel the things I feel, want the things I want. And all with nothing more than an arrangement of a bunch of words from my mind set to paper. When I write, I can do anything I want because the characters I create dance to my tune. I can make you believe in me. I can make you love me, hate me, pity me, want to see me burn in hell or even envy me.
It is the greatest high in the world for me because the truth of the matter is; I am inside every character I create. The sociopath on death row whose only redeeming qualities are his love of classical music and a dark rich Bordeaux, the young woman who is addicted to romance novels and goes all over the country searching for a man who is portrayed in her favorite book, the little boy who loses his much loved grandmother and writes a letter to God to hand deliver to her when she enters heaven, the elderly lady who gets mad at the neighbor’s poodle because he pees on her prize roses so she kills it, and uses it for fertilizer and the loving wife who can’t live without her husband who committed suicide and decides that living without him is not worth living at all. In one degree or another, for better or for worse, I am inside them as they are all inside me.
When people ask why I write, I just smile and say, “Because the characters make me.” Those wacked-out people I write about push me until their story is on the page. And they are so crafty that the stories may be just as I had initially envisioned but more than likely, the outcome will be a total shock to me. And the best part? All those characters and their stories make my 8-5 office job a lot more tolerable.
I am not yet a published author except for a couple of short stories but I have made up my mind that I am going to try my damnedest to be just that. I am working on a book and I know it will be published because I will keep working on it until it is. I was raised by the mantra, if you want it bad enough, it will happen. It may not be a book for the masses but it is a book I am having a ball writing and reading. And if I enjoy it, there has to be other crazies out there who will too.
The bottom line is this. If you have something in you that is dying to get out, then you better get it out of you before it dies. There is nothing sadder than a dead, unrealized dream. To many times we just push those dreams to the back burner to deal with “real” life but the truth is that real life is easier to deal with if we have our dreams.
So it you want to sing, sing. If you want to write, write. If you want to tap-dance, well, having rhythm is a good thing to have with that dream but nonetheless, put on those taps shoes and give it a go. You owe it to yourself to at least try.
And about that book of mine…I’ll leave a signed copy in your name at the front of the bookstore!