My Life

Peeling the Onion – #1

Note: I just hit my NaNoWriMo goal (without even having to stick out my tongue!), and whilst I was decompressing and reflecting on why I do the things I do, I remembered this short bit from back in the day. Not so much with the funny this time, more with the heart. Enjoy.

 

I had a question come up on my Q&A group in GoodReads that went something like this:

“When did you decide that you wanted to be an author/writer?

Tiffany”

I happen to know Tiffany. Fairly well, actually. And I knew that she was just being sweet and trying to keep the conversation alive in the Q&A group, a feat that can be daunting when every budding author on the planet has a Q&A group on at least 47 websites. I appreciated her efforts, and I decided to give her a bit more of an answer than she probably expected. (Or maybe she did. She’s intuitive about me, and that makes me smile.) In any case, I babbled forth.

And once I posted my response I thought, okay, THIS is a blog post. So here it is…

“Hi Tiffany,

Well, as clichéd as it sounds, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a writer, ever since I had a vague grasp of what that might mean. When I was in elementary school, I would take an existing book and rewrite the parts that I didn’t really care for, making it my own. (So I guess I also wanted to be an editor when I grew up.) When I was 12, I wrote my first “book”, something that was probably terrible (I no longer have a copy of it) but I was very earnest about the process. I had a fan base that consisted solely of my Aunt Monica, with the rest of the family being content that I was staying busy and out of their way.

In junior high, I had the double epiphanies of working for the school newspaper and having an English teacher, Myrna Campbell, who seriously championed my writing. Both of these experiences cemented my vocational aspirations and gave me the confidence to pursue them. At the age of 16, I wrote another book, a maudlin and naïve “coming of age” story that served as therapy for the typical teenage angst I was experiencing at the time. The original of this book has also departed the earth, after a startling incident involving a vindictive roommate in my early Twenties. (I lost nearly everything I had written up to that point, something that still cuts at me, but you have to move on.)

During the glory days of college, where I was thrilled on a daily basis to be taking classes with other people who wanted to be writers (just like me!), I wrote constantly, every day, all the time. I was convinced that I would soon be living life as a published author (possibly in Paris!), it was only a matter of time.

But time had other plans in mind. Despite reveling in the creative environment of college, I was very unhappy on a personal level. (Translation: I was in the closet. In Oklahoma. In 1985.) So despite my full understanding that I should stay persistent with my goals, I left school and fled to Dallas to “find myself”, and I never found my way back to getting a degree or a job that I really wanted. Instead, I took a mundane job, because there are bills to pay, and I kept working at that job, because you become complacent with a steady income, a reality that has happened to so many people who stumble in their educational pursuits.

Years passed. I would scribble something out from time to time, and my job transitioned to a training capacity where I produced my own materials, so at least I did have a minimal outlet for my urge to wordsmith. And I even wrote another book, around 1992 or so, but I gave up on that one after a single rejection letter. I was so busy with work, struggling to move ahead in a career that I didn’t even want. Part of me was dormant for a very long time.

Then in 2008, a very good friend pulled me aside and said ‘You aren’t doing what you want to do. You should write a blog.’

And here we are…”

End response.

Of course, that good friend was Tiffany. Full circle, eh? Love that kind of thing.

Cheers.

 

Originally published in “Bonnywood Manor” on 02/04/14. Slight changes made, but most of it was left intact, encased in amber…

 

50 replies »

  1. OMG this is so like me! I have always loved to write and I also wrote my first book when I was 12.😄 But in my country writers are poor so when I got to university I took up Engineering, and so I got stuck with a comfortable job which is hard to leave because I have bills to pay. So now I’m blogging. 😄 But you shouldn’t give up if you get rejected, I heard Nicholas Sparks got rejected many times before his work got published.😊

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Medal for that man 🥇 and my sincerest and deepest thanks to Tiffany. I am keeping my comment deliberately un flippant in deference to the tone of your post. Which I am delighted to have read. Honestly and truly delighted.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Beautiful post. I never knew I wanted to write. I just always wrote. I always wanted to work in a library or a bookshop. I wanted to spend my entire day surrounded by and reading books, and telling other people about books. Life had other plans. I can’t even hold a book now, I use audiobooks. Technology is wonderful when put to good rather than nefarious use. So glad you now do what you always wanted to, we benefit too 😊💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Chris, for the kind words. I also had visions, for quite some time, of being a librarian, doing the very things you mention, but pesky Life got in the way. And I’m still not ruling it out. Now that I’m retired and money is not so much of an issue, I would love to find a part-time position in an older library, something grand but slightly-faded, like one of the Carnegie Libraries. But that would require me to quit dreaming and start doing, and you know how that goes… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on finishing NaNo!
    Delighted to read of your journey. You hinted once before about your tragic roommate affair, my heart still weeps for you. That’s a betrayal I can’t begin to fathom, but I admire your resolve to move past it.
    Also, confession time: I wrote a book in the mid aughts, received one rejection email (on my birthday!), stuffed manuscript in drawer never to be seen again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now see, you shouldn’t have mentioned this manuscript in a drawer, because I’m going to hound you about it. I must know more! Maybe we can come to a nice arrangement. I think there’s a copy of the “novel” that I wrote in the early 90s somewhere in the attic. If I promise to share some of that, will you share some of yours? Hmm? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I want you to know I have been working over a possible response to your intriguing offer, and after several days of careful thought and sound reasoning have come up with the perfect answer: No.
        Several months ago I found the nerve to dig out said manuscript, which brought on a period of weeping and gnashing of teeth. I then had a dream — an epic dream of such magnificence, if I were to tell you about it, you’d think I was making it up. It was THAT magnificent. Upon waking, I knew immediately what the dream meant — It was about me writing the book and how the final part – the EDITING part – was just beginning. But not to worry, I was in complete control and would know when it was ready.
        So maybe I should change my response to you: No, but eventually yes. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sigh. Yes, I fled to Dallas, which quickly proved to not be the nirvana I had imagined. (I could easily get three full books out of the crapfest of my first year here.) But I was raised in Tulsa/Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Dallas was not that far away, and at the time it was something like the sixth largest metropolis in the country. (It has since dropped in the rankings.) For a country boy, this sounded like the Emerald City, and I packed my little bags… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! In your case it was the destination, not the journey in a way. I’m glad you found your way back. VERY GLAD. The only thing I ever wrote was a 1970s version of Little Red Riding Hood. A friend “borrowed” it because she thought it was so funny, and I never saw it again. I was more into cartooning and that had disastrous results. I spent hour and hours as an angst ridden teen, drawing and crafting my comic strip and came home one day to find my room bare of paper, and two bulging garbage sacks sitting on the can outside. I found out my mother decided that all the ‘garbage and doodles’ that I had done needed to go. I don’t think I ever recovered from that….but I did find my way to blog. I’ll be forever grateful to hubby for that, he wasn’t encouraging but he provided so much material I couldn’t NOT write. It was that or commit murder and orange (while it may be the new black) is NOT my color.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, so you know the heart-wrenching sting of someone else destroying your life’s work without any regard for the impact. It could have easily devastated me, but the blow was actually softened by the fact that everything else in my life at that time was going wrong as well. 1986 was the lowest point that I’ve ever been, and there will be a book someday. But back to us, I really enjoy our conversations like this, because it strengthens the fact that we were meant to be friends. It just took a while for the stars to get their slow-asses in line…

      Like

  6. Oh I totally forgot, awash in the swell of memory, to congratulate you on NaNoMo! Yay!!! How does it ‘feel’ to be so accomplished? And are you sharing your whole novel with us or do we have to scour Amazon looking for it? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats! I still don’t have a clue what that No Mo stuff is about. I really enjoy your writing. People ask me, from time to time why I started writing. I tell them I don’t really write…I just scribble on the computer and bleed. I actually DESPISE writing. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

        • I’d be happy to share my experience with self-publishing, if you’re interested. I’m not so savvy on the “selling” part of it, because I’ve failed with that angle with my own books… 😉

          • Thanks, Brian! If I ever do decide to learn how to turn something into a self-published book, I’ll keep it in mind to maybe ask you a question or two. It’s mostly I don’t understand at all what they say is formatting, and measuring and anything to do with all of that. … Well, I’d say you did great with your marketing, as you certainly caught my attention with your blog, and I am so glad I bought your books. They are so fun to read. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree with the fuckage. College was a wonderful experience, greatly enjoyed it, but things we need to learn as writers (or even humans) can’t necessarily be learned on a campus. Life is the real teacher…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yess. I think I’m a different person than I would have been had I stayed in school but I think it’s a good thing. They say write what you know & if you experience most things you can write about absolutely anything.

        I didn’t like college but I was going through major depression & anxiety. It was a good sized campus and I got lost easy. Riding the bus gave me anxiety. The only person who I hung out with was a good friend of mine that I had graduated HS with and we both ended up at the University of Iowa. I felt disconnected and different from roommate. She was more peppy, loved to go get drunk. I stayed in my dorm all day & didn’t study. Plus, I had a bf (shitty) that was 3 hours away & he was my “first love” but it wasn’t actual love. I wad distracted by him.

        I think if I had been in a different mind set and medication that I needed, it would have been a better experience.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s awesome your doing something you love man. Glad your blog is doing well. Keep on striving for more. Tif must be a good friend.

    I need your feedback pal. You comment on Peekaboo was incredible, but I’ve got a new short called The Writers Block and I need your input. Hope to see you there and I’ll be more than happy to send my bloggers your way. Hope to see you there

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will definitely check it out. And if you don’t see any comments from in the next day or so because I’ve gotten distracted, ding me with another comment. We need to support each other, and I’m happy to do it…

      Like

  9. 1. Congrats on finishing NaNoWriMo. That is a tremendous accomplishment!
    2. So glad you had a Tiffany who made you made you, er, I mean encouraged you to write and blog. I enjoy reading your writing.
    3. I love that you re-wrote parts of books when you were a kid. That is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1. Thank you!
      2. Tiffany is such a treasure, although there are times when I would prefer that she stay buried. Said with love.
      3. I used to really enjoy the book rewrites. Naturally, I thought my versions were much better. Of course, it never occurred to me that the writer may have also wished for a different version, but then a string of editors and publishers got a hold of the manuscript… 😉

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  10. I’m so glad that you did not need to stick out your tongue – I was a bit worried you might get jaw fatigue and never be able to eat or drink again. 🙂 Congrats on getting your goal accomplished.
    To have a “Tiffany” in your life is a very comforting thing, and life does have a way on circling back on itself, doesn’t it!
    I admire writers, I am just too lazy for all that thoughtfulness, revision, correction, editing and refining of words that I know will never be half of what I actually wanted to say.
    Happy NaNoWriMo Accomplishment

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks, Claudette. It can be a lot of work to finalize a book, which is why I spend much more time writing blog pieces and piddling around with little stories. People can be much more forgiving when it’s “just a blog post”, and I don’t have to mess with (or even care about) making it perfect. I suppose this is my roundabout why of saying I’m lazy as well. I didn’t used to be, but you just get TIRED after a while… 😉

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  12. Well, i’m certainly happy you’re writing, as are many, many others. I can tell! My life has been similar to yours, in the writing department, in many ways! Things happen, (or don’t happen,) when one has grownup responsibilities and bills to pay. Good for Tiffany for encouragining you. She’s a great thorn to have around. The Tiffanys of the world rock! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do get the sense that we’ve shared a lot of experiences in the past, which is probably why we became friends so quickly. I love the comfort of being able to babble away at one another about whatever, then we don’t talk for a week or two, and then we pick it right back up. Good for the soul… 😉

      Like

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