Monday, October 11, 2010

The Puzzle

            A few of my friends have asked me why I all of the sudden started writing.  What made me get up one morning with the need to write a story?  It’s a difficult question because there is no clear, concise answer.  I can say this.  I had been bothered by reoccurring dreams and nightmares that pestered me from the time I was seventeen.  They visited me in different forms, but the theme was generally the same.  They were born from real life experiences that I had never effectively worked through.  I just simply put it in the back of my mind and ignored it as best I could.  But they were never forgotten and they proved this point a few nights every week.
            One morning, I decided to make sense of the dream, giving it a reason to have manifested itself in my tired brain.  This is essentially the day I began to write.  It was cathartic, of course, but that wasn’t the reason I chose to write.  It was more due to my need to figure out the pieces that made up a puzzle.  And that puzzle was me.
            I’d figured that I was made up of all sorts of strange shapes.  Not the kind you generally see in a puzzle, all homogenous and firmly interlocking.  No, my pieces were all different.  Some simple, maybe round like a circle.  Others jagged and nonsensical.  Very few had those bulbous peninsulas or shapely bays that fastened snugly, ingeniously designed to hold together, so stable that even when they were knocked away, they tended to remain locked in form.  My pieces were much more haphazard.
            Each of these puzzle pieces became a character in my novel, but they were all a part of me.  Some were truly good while others were inherently evil.  Most were just confused combinations of both, struggling to do the right thing, making careless mistakes along the way, mistakes that affected the lives of others.  I needed to make sense of all that, to put it all together in such a way that each of those pieces, those characters, made something that was whole, something that actually worked. 
Of course, I relate to my two main characters much more than the others, the two who struggle to make sense of their terrible ordeal.  They used to be ideal, nearly the same, smooth and round along the edges.  But they both evolved into one of those jagged, pieces that could only interlock with another of similar form.  That’s when they became logical, making perfect sense only when they came together.
That’s why I started writing, to make sense of all my jagged pieces, so I could fit them into a puzzle that told a story, that drew a picture that made sense of who I am.  I am my story, in all its imperfection.  And now, those nightmares have suddenly stopped.  And I feel whole.  That’s not to say that those pieces don’t sometimes come loose, the edges popping up, begging to be smoothed out by running a finger along the boundaries.  But it all fits together now.  And I have made sense of the picture that is me.  

Friday, October 8, 2010


I just wanted to give a shout out to my girl, Lisa Regan.  Congratulations on finding an agent who loves your book, Finding Claire Fletcher.  This is the beginning of something wonderful!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How I Was Saved

            So I often find it difficult to keep plugging along in my quest to get published.  The task of finding an agent who will fall in love with my book seems daunting, especially when I read all the blog comments from fellow writers who have yet to find their own.  I tend to think of every writer as a great writer, though I know this is not the case, but who am I to think I am so much better?  Why should I think I can find an agent if they cannot?  My step falters and my confidence sags. 
            I get so down that I don’t want to continue for fear of failure.  My husband notices that I have once again fallen into the doldrums, the smile that’s usually plastered on my face gone, my brow furrowed in worry.  He tries to pick me up, telling me to remain persistent.  But it doesn’t work.  There’s really no reason for that except to say that he doesn’t really know what I’m going through, where I am, how difficult this business really is.  I need someone who gets me, who gets the heartache of writing, of putting your body and soul into a story and fearing that no one will ever read it.
            There is one person in my life who gets that.  Her name is Lisa Regan and she is my mentor and co-conspirator, my sounding board, my lifeline to sanity.  I refer to her as a drug I cannot go without.  I emailed her, telling her that I needed my “Lisa fix” and she understood. 
This is a woman who has put four tortuous years into a work of literature that is so powerfully profound that I have no words good enough to describe fully how masterful it really is.  She has slaved over her novel, writing and rewriting until is glistens like gold.  She’s also been through the querying process.  She told me she’s received hundreds of rejections, but many of those have been constructively critical which in turn led her to rewrite yet again.  And now she has this intense, beautiful, scary story that I know will be published.  How can I give up if she has remained so stoic? 
I often pray to God for the benefit of my loved ones, rarely asking for anything on my own behalf.  Last night though, I was down and I asked for some sign that I should go on, move ahead, not give up.  The way I saw it, He had provided me with so many other signs along the way, He wouldn’t mind giving me another when I needed it the most.  I told Him I was listening, that my eyes were open wide and waiting.  I knew not to expect anything grand or obvious.  I also knew I probably wouldn’t get anything at all.  But I had faith. Faith that He put me on this path, that He means for me to continue.  And you know what?  I got that sign!  Again, it came in the form of Lisa Regan. 
She emailed me, offering me words of encouragement.  I heard my phone ding with the new message so I picked it up, hoping it might be her.  And while I read her message, a song played over the airwaves in Starbucks where I waited for my son to get out of class.  The song, one I’ve never heard before, was called “You Make Me Smile” at least that’s what the words of the chorus sang over and over.  And I started to cry.  I had my sign.  I knew I was meant to continue.  Her email pumped me up like no other words ever could.  She’s my angel, my savior.  Once I told her I wished I could bottle her, like an anti-depressant that I could take daily.  I think God sent her to me.  And I will do my best everyday to live up to both of them.  Thank you God.  Thank you Lisa.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A New Day

As most of my friends and family know, I have been busy writing my first novel.  The experience has been remarkable to say the least.  I never knew how much I loved to write. Now it's all I ever want to do.  It's been such a strange experience.  The story simply poured out of me.  It was as if I was possessed by someone else.  I couldn't write it fast enough.  And now, after working with some incredible critique partners, I think I'm pretty close to calling it a day and sending out my query letters.

On the right side of my blog you will see "Pages".  Click on "The Mistaken" and you can read a small part of my book, the prologue through chapter 4.  Feel free to leave comments or critique it as you see fit.

I feel like I'm on the cusp of something amazing and I hope to take you all along with me on my incredible journey.