February 15, 2010

Watching wild turkeys in the field across the creek this morning - Feb 15, 2010. News has reported more snow for our area 4-9 inches. How much more can we get in one season? We have two feet of snow piled on the back deck and the driveway is snow packed and icy. I feel as though a sodden woolen blanket has been dropped over my shoulders - holding me down.
I'm going to hop in that station wagon that's headed to Florida and go along with the characters in my story. Maybe that will get me out of this sour mood.
When I started writing thirty years ago - it was on a whim. I told stories at card club every month and kept everyone laughing. A friend said I reminded her of Erma Bombeck and I should write the stories down. So I thought okay I will. I've always loved reading and writing and telling stories. Perhaps there was something to this.
The first story I wrote was published in The Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland - and of course I thought, "I'm a writer." Ha. Little did I know - writing involved more than writing a 300 word essay on getting a tan in cloudy Cleveland. I enrolled in Lakeland Community College, going to the admissions office with a fist full of essays, a pounding heart, and sweaty palms - this little girl from a small town in WV who had a "hillbilly" accent that drove my friends to hysterics -and me to curl up inside and want to die - I wanted to sound like everybody else (I even emulated their speech but some words I just could not change- I'm thankful today I can still identify with that little girl from WV). At the college, I met Professor Margaret Bretschneider who held my hand and guided me along. I finally learned the things I'd missed in high school due to drive inn movies, sock hops, and a passionate crush on Elvis.
Many published credits for short stories and essays behind me, I finally wrote a novel. For five years agent Elaine English tried to sell it- while I tried to write a sequel. No luck with selling the first novel. It's still on my desk. And the sequel died a slow torturous death. Now I have three half finished novels in my desk drawer and another I've just started. The ideas that were brilliant in the beginning grew stale and ended in the middle of the story - the fire in my belly for each story was doused.
I haven't given up. Ernest Hemmingway said the only way to finish is to keep your butt in a chair and write on through to the end of the damn thing.
This losing faith in the middle of a novel isn't new. It happens to the best of writers. I know. I have many published friends who have the same problem. I can write a novel - I have one to show for it and people who have read it say it's good. (Not just the friends I paid.)
Now I have to pick up the threads of this new story and get busy. Who will go on this journey with me???

5 comments:

  1. I'm here to go on that journey with you Barb. You have valid ups and downs in this topsy turvy writing experience. It's difficult to pour your soul into words and let others read what you've bled out on a page. Look forward to traveling with you on your journey!

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  2. Thanks Sher. As you know I'm in the vehicle with you too as you bring your new book ISLAND PASSAGE to fruition. How exciting. I can't wait to see the cover and then hold the book in my hands. Blessings and may God go with you. HELP - are we in for another blizzard???

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  3. I'm in for the ride too, Mom...I love the blog that you are doing, and hopefully in the morning we can make it look pretty!! We have found another thing that we can have in common across the miles...Love + miss you guys....

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  4. We're eternally connected by the mother daughter thread.

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  5. Hi I'm a member of WVRoundtable and WVWriters, that is how I found your blog. Funny, my older sister moved to Cleveland when she married in the 1960s, thankfully she came back. I wish I had started writing 30 years ago, but unfortunately I started around 3 yrs ago. But, I love to write, especially children's stories and hopefully, will have one published some day.

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