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.