Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 • No Comments on Stories to Tell
(Several months ago I tried a time management technique using Lego blocks. It was fun– and more effective than I expected.)
I’ve been writing a little bit. Here and there. Words. It’s a nice feeling. My heart in writing fiction– and I think I have many more stories to tell, but I feel as if I’ve reached a point in my life where maybe I have more to offer than fiction. My nonfiction credits have been few and far between, so I’m not sure what I should tackle. Parenting, marriage, sex, my complex, complicated relationship with my mother? An advice column? I’m full of it– advice that is– just ask anyone who knows me.
Writing nonfiction has always been a challenge for me. I’m much more comfortable creating characters than I am in revealing myself. I’ve blogged off and on since 2007 (I think), but I’ve always kept a careful distance. Which is probably why my blog hasn’t had a steady readership in years– and why I lost interest in it myself.
My first magazine piece was for CATS Magazine, which might not even be in existence now. It was the 1990s, when I was writing greeting cards and other ephemera (which was actually the name of a greeting company, I believe). Then I sold my first novel to Harlequin and my focus remained solidly on fiction for more than a decade.
In 2009, as one of my New Year’s resolutions to try new markets and genres, I wrote a piece for Megan McMorris’s epistolary collection P.S. What I Didn’t Say (Seal Press). It was called “The Last Letter” and it was written to a very dear friend, who also happened to be my husband’s grandmother. It was the first– and so far only– nonfiction piece I’ve had published in an anthology and it meant a lot to me to see it published.
Last year was the release of Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After (Cleis Press), probably the most complex and difficult project I’ve ever tackled. While it’s a mix of fiction and nonfiction from a dozen authors, I did write a sizable chunk of the book and there’s a lot of me in there– stories and anecdotes about me and my relationship with my husband. It’s a very personal book and I’ve been pleased with the reader response. I have been labeled a “relationship expert” and while I’m not terribly comfortable with the word expert, I suppose a successful, happy twenty-four year marriage qualifies me as at least pretty knowledgable.
In contrast to how long I’ve been married, my five years of parenting seem like nothing at all, but I’ve been very happy to have a couple of pieces published with Brain, Child in the past year. Wanting More than Enough is about being a new mother, my relationship with my own mother and overcoming the past. It’s a short piece, but it was a difficult essay to write because it’s so personal. Anchors Aweigh was a short piece about life as a Navy family– a part of their “What is Family?” series last December.
For awhile, I was part of Oh Get a Grip!–a group blog with some talented authors–and I wrote some of my most honest, personal writing there. The most difficult piece I ever wrote was about my mother’s death: July 25, 2007, but there were other posts that tackled writing and parenting, survival and love and so many other things. It’s a terrific blog and I was honored to be a part of it because the other authors challenged me to go places I might not have gone with my writing. That’s something I need to do again– push myself. But in what direction?
I feel pulled toward nonfiction, but I also feel pulled toward writing a ghost story. Returning to my early reader roots of Stephen King and Dean Koontz and the stories that kept me awake at night and scared the daylights out of me. I have a character whispering to me, though I can’t be sure if she’s the protagonist or not. Hopefully she’ll keep whispering until I can get her story told.
Where to go, where to go? The path lies before me…