Life can be so unfair at times …
I don’t typically write blog post during the week. My schedule is just too chaotic to allow time for that, but today has been quite a little rollercoaster of emotions and I find that I need an outlet. This might get a little gray, but hang with me, I promise I’m not just wallowing in hole.
I sat for eight hours by myself in my office today. Yep, the whole place was empty aside from me. Maybe I should add that there are just two of us that work there- small town remember? Manning the place alone isn’t really all that uncommon since we both take vacations, sick days, etc. We’re used to it and although it always creates a little bit more work, we manage.
Today, I was already in a funk by the time I got to work and yes, it was because my friend and co-worker wouldn’t be there, but it had nothing to do with anything extra that might come my way. Over the weekend our little town was dealt some unsettling news. A marine, who served in Iraq, and who had recently returned home from the service, was killed in a car accident. Although, I didn’t know him personally, it was easily seen from the mass of Facebook post in my feed, that he was loved by many. He was my friend/co-worker’s nephew. His grandmother taught both of my boys in preschool. Both of these woman are dear to me. So, yes, I sat there thinking of them today. Their family has already suffered so much in the last few years. The death of their father, then a husband who died suddenly, a son in-law who lost a battle to pancreatic cancer, their mother’s diagnosis of dementia, and now a young boy who still had his whole life ahead of him. How much can one family take? I thought about his mother who, from my own experience of losing a child, I know will never be the same. How will his sister, who isn’t much older than my eldest son, cope? How will his father endure the death of his only son?
As if this wasn’t enough on my mind, I came across a few blog post that furthered my funky mood. Mary Rowen wrote a post about her struggle with Bulimia and how it changed her life. And after reading her friend, Ami’s, story about depression, Kathy Palm was inspired to write about a time that was painfully difficult for her. Each of these post, although sad and emotional, were also inspirational and left me in tears.
Life can be so unfair at times …
Yes I know this, but don’t we all? We’ve all had some not so sunny times. In 1998, I lost my first-born son and spent the next couple of years learning how to be me again while missing a piece of me. In May of 2011, my sister, after returning unharmed from a tour in Iraq, was given a death sentence when she was diagnosed with ALS. Two months later I lost an aunt to colon cancer. In October of that year, both of my grandparents died within two weeks of each other. By November, my entire family was embattled in a nasty court battle for their estate. An action that with missing trust paperwork and not one, but two disbarred attorney’s involved, turned so crazy it almost became comical. Trust me, I couldn’t make this shit up if I had to! We all have dark times, but it’s what you do with those experiences that matter. For me, I think in some aspects, dealing with so much in such a short span, made me stronger, but in some sense it also made me more vulnerable. I’m okay with both. And like most writers, I find writing to be therapeutic and healing, which made me question, as an author, how much of our darkness and life experiences do we throw into our writing?
The first question I usually get, when someone who knows my sister reads Drive Me Sane, is if Sera was based on her. I’ve always answered no, because I never considered my sister inspiration when I was writing it. If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know my inspiration came from a Tyler Farr song. But after thinking about this for quite some time now, I think I’m wrong. Both female soldiers, who served overseas, my sister and Sera do share a lot of the same personality traits. Feisty, outspoken and quick-tempered, I think I unknowingly cast my sister in my book 🙂 – to a degree. Because, although they have things in common, they are also very different (I’m pretty sure my sister would have run Tyler over with his own truck and there wouldn’t have been a happy ending there.) And just in case you’re wondering, no my sister does not suffer from PTSD associated from her time in Iraq.
But with this realization, I began taking stock at some of my other writing to determine if I could personally associate with any of it and boy was I surprised. I won’t make you suffer through the list of the dramatics of my life, because whether we want to admit it or not, we all have them, but yes, I do interject my own experiences into my writing. A tad here or a bit there, I see myself, family and friends in pieces of my books. Maybe that’s how I keep my sanity through all the craziness or maybe it’s just my way of sharing stories that I feel have merit.
So my question to my fellow authors is: How much of your own experiences do you draw from and use in your writing?
In closing, Mary, Kathy, and Ami- thanks for sharing your stories. Although, it spun my day out of whack more than it already was, I think I needed to hear them today. To the Brewer family, my thoughts are with you as Tyler is laid to rest and Apie- love ya!
And on a lighter note …
Congrats to my good friend, W.C. Cunningham, on the publication of his short story, The Right Words. You can enjoy his humorous tale of a father talking to his kids about drugs, as well as, several other short stories for just 99¢!