"Luminous Wind"
Goddess art of Jonathon Earl Bowser

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Write What You Know...

Debating whether I should let the frustration build up even more. This kind of story is a bit more difficult for me to write. It has its basis in reality. There is no magic, no mythical creatures, no spirits, and only the tiniest suggestion of paranormal, there is not even the guarantee of HEA. Life is messy! Life is unpredictable and the most precious gift. It can be cut oh-so-short.

I've been touched by grief, illness, and tragedy more times than I care to say and I will continue to be. It is my path. I never asked for it. I never sought it out. But I've learned to accept and work with what I've been given. If I am able to help bring peace, understanding, , healing and/or closure, that is all that matters to me and I have done what I am meant to do.  I have friends in treatment, friends in remission, friends who struggle every day to get out of bed. "Another birthday means another year I am alive."

They say to: "Write what you know." Right? I see so many paranormal romance/eroticas out there and have to wonder if/which of these authors "know" the way that I do. The nosy or disapproving people reading over my shoulder (that we learn to ignore?) Mine aren't even living. That leaves me with quite the conundrum when contemplating writing ghostly romantica and/or erotica. And let me tell you - your nosy or disapproving spouse, your mother, your children - they are more easily ignored!


You remember that scene in "Ghost" when Patrick Swayze's character is singing 'I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am" to get Whoopie Goldberg's character's attention: the incessant, annoying, maddening repetition and disruption of her life? I've been there. A week's worth of shoulder tappings of "you gotta tell her, you gotta tell her, you gotta tell her" and having to turn to him and ask him to please stop and let me sleep. "I can't cross that line until she asks me." Luckily, she did ask me and I was able to help them reunite. She asked her questions. He got across his message of love. He was going to propose!


I have a young girl in my back yard. She's a timid little thing and it is hard to tell whether she is from long-ago or more recently earthbound here. Her traditional clothing makes it difficult to know. She enjoys this place, the animals, the youthful energy. For Christmas, as I walked past her, she said "Cookie?" and showed me when she and her mother used to bake cookies together. I gave her a sad smile, went inside, wiped the tears from my eyes, and retrieved a home-made cookie from the tin. I set it on the rock where she hangs out and wished her Merry Christmas. She smiled at me and thanked me and told me she was cold.

She died of hypothermia, after being buried by a snow drift, in the midst of a fever. I wish I could warm that little girl. I've tried to help her. She has been a moment away from finding peace. But she's a kid and she's afraid. Her father was hard on his children and she doesn't want to be punished for wandering outside alone in the middle of a blizzard. Several have seen and sensed her presence. I'll find people looking in the direction I know she is sitting in, and leave with a quizzical look on their faces. For now, I hope it is enough for her to know that she is cared about and watched out for. And maybe one day she will be ready to move on.


Maybe this is why I have a hard time writing "reality" based stories. On the flip-side, it can be challenging to write paranormal and fantasy when these are part of my every day reality.

This is the first Spirit Story that I am writing that is romantic and passionate in nature.

I've written about the HS girl who died on prom night, only to try desperately to get through to her twin brother and boyfriend. 

I've written a story about the little boy wandering the beach whose mother can't let him go and whose father knows he is around.

I've written about the husband who is waiting for his wife after years of battling Alzheimer Disease, who needs to reconcile with their estranged daughter before rejoining him. Alas, in the middle of telling his story, Hurricane Katrina happened and I had to put his story on hold in order to help a young school teacher make sense of why she is still here.

I have written about the One-Room School House teacher who lost her life in the midst of the Hurricane of the Century (never even knowing the hurricane actually took place), while saving her students. (A few years after writing the story, I shared it with a history teacher. He told me I was writing about the Hurricane of 1900, in TX. He shared with me links containing news coverage.  Imagine my surprise to read an account of a one-room school house swept away.) She had been waiting patiently for over a century to help usher those souls lost during Hurricane Katrina, to the Light.  She was an angel, if ever there was one.

I've even written about the wee little dog who tries everything in her doggy-power to get her momma/owner to realize that she is still there and it's OK to let go.

After each of these encounters. After each of these soul's details have been recalled, memories restored, and stories told: they have been able to find peace.

I am honored and humbled by the openness, vulnerability and trust these spirits have shared with me, the intimate accounts of life and the lessons they've learned in death.

Spirit has influenced other romantica stories, but never so personally as this one.  And so, I write this story. Maybe through it, She can find her moment of Happy. I hope she walks in love.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Life of its own...

My newest story is intensely and emotionally charged. So, I thought about the purpose of "Nude Day" (July 14th, BTW) and the original purpose was to celebrate and embrace the human body (imperfections and all). I brainstormed how I could do this tastefully.  I thought, maybe my character can have body image issues or insecurities, like so many of us do.  I sat down and started writing. I'm almost up to 12,000 words.  The story has taken on a life of its own, as tends to happen. Even more so after learning news a few days ago which brings that concept home, yet again. I have to see it through. If I don't finish, I will get no sleep and there will be no peace. My life and my words aren't ever truly "mine." I know this and I've made peace with that, but sometimes it still gets to me. What made me choose this particular subject matter?

This story is one of acceptance, healing, and embracing...ultimately one of love.  I had no idea when I started writing this story that it would become so detailed and so personal for a person who is no longer bound to earth. I have been sending healing to a woman for months. I knew nothing about her beyond that she had cancer and little ones at home. I had no way of knowing the details and circumstances of her life.  And yet, they are there on the page before me. "Uncannily" so, as her one friend put it, flabbergasted that I should write such a personal account without know her, without knowing hardly anything about her. They have been validated by her loved ones.   She has very obviously been influencing and inspiring me to tell her story. 

It is my hope that I am able to honor her and her memory; that maybe through my words, she will find what she did not find or could not hold in life.  She is a bright and shining soul and I am thankful she has graced me with her presence.