Monday, February 20, 2012

New Beginnings

Have you ever written a story about someone else’s life? Or, while attending a funeral, you felt a bit frightened to suddenly realize how fast life moves? We are here one moment and gone the next.
Recently, I completed my first novel, “Nick, The Journey of a Lifetime,” where I introduced my husband’s grandfather as a young man about to start the journey of his lifetime. He meets a girl, falls in love, embraces an occupation, encounters obstacles, considers the unexpected and does his best with the cards of life that he was dealt. And then there’s the end - life over.
Personally, I never have been good with endings of any kind: the end of good book; a television miniseries; a friendship due to a move or death. Maybe that’s why I struggled initially with the start of my new short story after publishing my first novel. I had a hard time letting go.
My fellow writers would often joke with me that I carried the characters around with me in my pocket. “You probably go to bed with them!” they would say, with a snicker. And, I had to agree with them. I would constantly brainstorm of what was coming next, or dialogue in the following scene, or what conflict they would have to endure in the next chapter.
And, allow me to share with you - inspiration follows no rules and certainly no etiquette. I would be struck at the oddest of times with the perfect ending to a scene or a must have sentence in another. I may have been enjoying my nightly walk with my golden retriever, Rudy; following a recipe while cooking supper; or, the oddest of all, driving my car.
Oh yes, finishing a novel is an enormous accomplishment but letting go of your characters and allowing them to rest, is just as difficult. Each writer has to develop their own path of release. For me, I have to acknowledge the feelings of loss and allow them to pass over me, almost like clouds in the sky. I know eventually the clouds will clear and fade away revealing a fresh start with clear skies. It, too, is a process.  Only then, can I embrace a new story with new characters to hold in my pocket. 

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