Friday, May 4, 2012

Why do I write?

I think a lot of writers will get asked this questions at least one time in their career. One of the most popular answers is, "Well I had a story to tell." This is essentially true. Every writer has a story to tell. Whether it be fictional, factual, historical, auto-biographical, (that's a word right?) or any of the other numerous "als" out there, every word written in essence tells a story.

To me writing is so much more than a story. Words can move like nothing else can. They bring on tears, happy and sad, make you laugh when nothing else can, move people to action, bring them to their knees. Words can be uplifting, heart wrenching, exciting, captivating. Words can build nations or destroy them. They can make you love, they can make you hate, change minds and win hearts. Whether spoken in a shout or barely in a whisper, words effect us all.

Books are simply a natural extension of words. They bring alive new worlds, world you wish desperately were real. Make heroes and villains that never existed, attach you to people that were never here. Make you see through someone else's eyes, feel through someones else's heart (ok I may have stolen that from a Disney movie, but it's true nonetheless). 

This is why I write. I want to create characters that people will always remember. I want my readers to root desperately for the victory of my hero, vehemently wish for the defeat of my villain. I want people to laugh out loud, feel their guts clench in suspense. I want them to cry on cue, and leap up with joy. To create a story that will resonate with people. 

For me that is what it is all about, that is why I write. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to Discipline a Possum.

Funny how when things in your life are at the lowest, something can happen that will make you glad to be where you are.

For example, back in 2009 my husbands chiropractic practice had crumbled. We were barely getting by and on top of that we had a one year old child to feed. Things were looking pretty grim. Fortunately, my husband was able to find a job that would put us back on our feet and help us to get out from underneath the crushing amount of business and student loan debt. Unfortunately, this job was in Florida. One thousand miles from everyone we knew and loved. So, with heavy hearts he took the job.

The job would take six weeks before he got his first paycheck. So, the plan was that he would go first while I continued to work. When he received his first paycheck, my daughter and I would follow. He was supposed to be back for Christmas. That didn't happen.

Turns out that the IRS decided that the payment plan we had made with them wasn't satisfactory anymore. They took every cent of my husbands first paycheck. Every. Last. Cent. Wouldn't you know, it was also my last day at my job. I was lucky, I went back to work and begged for them to let me stay on till we got this resolved. They let me and I bawled like a baby. Our six week time apart turned to twelve weeks. It was probably one of the most stressful times in my life.

Since we couldn't afford the rent in two places, while my husband was gone I moved back in with my parents. This was also a new low for me. Here I was, a first time mom, moving back in with my parents at the age of twenty nine. I was so grateful for their help, but humiliated too.

A few days before Christmas, I was awoken to thundering footsteps down the hall. A soft knock to my bedroom door followed.
"Jenny?" came my dad's voice.
"I need your help"
"O.k." I mumbled, throwing on a robe.

I entered the hallway to see my dad and mom standing outside of the utility door. Mom was armed with a broom. This of course peeked my curiosity.

"What's going on?" I asked.
'There's a possum in there." my dad said. Well, that explained the broom
"A what?" I asked
"A possum" he repeated and continued, "I was on the way to the shower and the door moved. A tail popped out of the bottom of the door. So I peeked and sure enough there is a possum. It must have come up under the furnace to get some warmth." Just then the door moved again, sure enough, possum tail.
"I'm gonna try and get it back down the hole. Go close all the doors and block the entry way to the kitchen, just in case it runs out."

Right about then my daughter woke up. So I grabbed her, and took her with me while we set to our task. I got the all the possible escape routes blocked in case it bolted from the closet. Mom was ready to play possum hockey with her broom. We were all set.

"Ok, here we go." Dad says.
After some banging around my dad says, "Ok. It's gone down. That was....AGGHH, IT HAS A MATE, DON'T MOVE IT HAS A MATE!!!" Bang! Crash...boom. It sounded like possum armageddon was happening right next to me.

A couple minutes later, dad emerged from the hallway a bit flushed but triumphant.
'They are gone now. I don't think they will be back either. I gave them a little tap on the way out." There was a pregnant pause before I could no longer help myself.
"Dad, seriously? You think the possums won't come back because you spanked them?" I asked.
"We'll see." He said smugly. You know what? He was right, we never saw them again.

We may have been in a bad situation at the time, but I was glad to be there at that moment. Not only was this a memory that was going to last forever, I learned how to properly discipline a possum.