Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Long-Lost Mermaid Sister...

I want to be a writer. Wait, scratch that. I want to be a published author. I make the distinction with a hindsight view of a journey that still stretches in front of me even while I reflect on how far I've come.

I've always wanted to be an author. My first poem that I wrote in the second grade, was widely distributed throughout my neighborhood, mostly because I made copies. BY HAND. I didn't send it via email, nor did I use a copy machine...I actually wrote out more than twenty copies. There were no fancy, computer-generated graphics, although I'm pretty sure there was a child's rendering of a flower-maybe a daisy-rose hybrid?-sketched up at the top. And I didn't seal it in an envelope to be stuck anonymously in each mailbox, sending a text message alerting to its placement in said mailboxes. I actually went door-to-door, having real conversations with whoever answered (usually of the adult-type) about my poem and why it was important for them to read. When I reflect on this first experiment in poetry, my first "project," it is evident that my love of writing blossomed at an early age. And it went far beyond the pen and page.

Since then, I haven't stopped. Writing has always been a natural creative outlet for me, even when it took on different shapes. During elementary school, I wrote short narratives about long-lost mermaid sisters, beautiful ocean or forest getaways, treasure-hunting and super powers, sometimes all wrapped up in one character...usually me, or my long-lost mermaid sister. In middle school and high school, my practice shifted to note-swapping with my best friend Ally. We wrote mostly about boys, and the girls that chased those boys. It was lots of expository writing of drama and conflict and resolution. In college, my Philosophy degree allowed me to expand into new realms as historical analyses of the ancient enlightened became my next pursuit.

When I met my husband, I reverted back to the writing I loved: poetry, short stories and reflections on LOVE. I wrote letters to my babies before they were born, and even more to them since. This has been my journey.

Just over a year ago, I joined a writing group with some amazing and inspirational women who, like me, found a calling in telling stories. With their help, and a group of characters that wouldn't get out of my head until I put them on the page, I wrote my first novel: a women's fiction piece that incorporates a shooting, a ghost and a love story. (Compelling, don't you think?) I didn't start with a synopsis or a plot line or a character chart...I started with a feeling and a dream. Six months later, I printed the first draft of my book, all 378 pages of it! I spent the summer taking that manuscript everywhere with me. (It especially enjoyed our sunny beach days and our camping trip to Carpinteria.) I was reading, revising, adding, crossing-out....with a pen, the old-fashioned way. I couldn't get the story out of my mind and it took three months to go through one edit.

Meanwhile, I devoured every book that I could find, (reading makes my "writing-mode" so much more accessible), and I researched everything I found about how to get a book published. I wrote a synopsis and a plot line and a character chart. I wrote and re-wrote my query letter. (For those who wonder, it's a letter that you need to get a literary agent whose job it is to get you published, if you're going the traditional route, which is my goal. But that's another story.) It's all been very exciting, but it's been very scary too. On more than one occasion, I have lost hope, because really? Does this book suck?!? It's hard to know...I'm too close. Oh yeah, and apparently, it is SUPER hard to get that literary agent, let alone get published. It only happens for about one percent of my fellow dreamers...the lucky and talented ones. (Still don't know if I'm either.)

Then at church on Sunday, Father Reynold talked about the Epiphany and how the three wise men didn't completely understand where they were going when they began their journey to a birthday party for Jesus. They didn't know exactly where their path would lead, or what their future would bring. But what they did have was faith...faith in their journey.

"Hellloooo God! I hear you!" That message was a reminder to me, and can be to you, regardless of your religious persuasion, that we don't have to know exactly what the outcome of our pursuits will be for them to be worthy of pursuing. We won't always find the result we expect. In fact, it's more likely that our hindsight view will uncover an altogether, twisty-turny, full of surprises, different path that lead to where we were traveling. And I bet that path will be better, more interesting, full-of-lessons and enlightenment, than the path we originally charted for ourselves.

I'm where I should be, following my dream, not just to write a book, I did that, but to refine that work, hope for an agent, pray for a publisher, and aim to reach people with my story. If this book doesn't fulfill that dream, and I really don't know if it will, I will keep writing. Because that is my passion...this is my journey, even if I have to go door-to-door, or post-to-post, following my dream...my beacon in the night.

So dream...dream BIG! Abandon your fear of the unknown, chart a path but leave time for oh-so-fun side trips, dare to suck, and have faith in your journey. People out there: listen for the doorbell...

We are on our way!

{J}

1 comment:

  1. Love it! You Rock! Can't wait to read it cover to cover.. :)

    ReplyDelete