My parents were what I would call organized, tidy, hoarders. Definitely not the clinical hoarders you might have seen on TV. You know the ones… they scramble over a precarious stack of broken electronic devices balanced at the back door. Empty boxes of macaroni and cheese stuffed between piles of worn-out shoes sit beside garbage bags filled with dated clothes ready to cushion the impact should someone stumble.
No. This does not describe my parents…
Organized, tidy hoarders are people who keep everything of importance (not immediate importance, mind you, but eventual or possible importance.) These individuals know where everything is months and years after filing them away.
It was after my father passed away that the family had to go through the household items, making piles labeled donate, garbage, and keep. My keep stack grew to a ridiculous height in a clinical attempt to preserve my memories of my parents. I have since returned to my senses and donated some of the items.
Back to my parent’s home…
My mother kept a box filled with every Valentine card she ever received next to a box of every birthday card she ever received. (Continue filling the virtual shelf with one box per card-giving holiday.) My father kept magazines of interest filed with correspondences to editors, asking for more particulars. (About one and a half tons according to the haul-away man’s scale.)
SO WHAT HAS THIS GOT TO DO WITH WRITING? I’m getting to that…
So it didn’t surprise me to find a box filled with my old report cards, starting with kindergarten through high school. What did surprise me was a comment which appeared year after year by different teachers.
Leslie doesn’t play with other children. She prefers to be by herself.
Can anyone say writer?
Some people use the word, lonely, to describe the life of a writer. And from the repeating comment on those old report cards, it sure sounds like I was lonely, but I’m one of those writers who doesn’t feel that way. Okay, okay…you’ve got me. Yes, I’m here at my computer, sharing my thoughts with you while my husband is at work and my daughter is at school. And no, besides my needy dog, a chatty parakeet, a baby Cockatiel, 5 croaking tree frogs, a bucket of chirping crickets to feed the croaking frogs, and a tank of quiet (and sometimes dead) fish, I am alone.
Alone but not lonely. (Seriously NOT LONELY.)
When I’m writing, I’m closest to my inner voice. I’m free to tap into myself for ideas, inspirations, childhood memories, and moments I want to explore through words.
When I’m working on a story, I’m spending time with my friends. Sure, they’re my imaginary human and animal companions, but as they are characters I brought to life, let life happen to, and spent months or years with, they’re real to me.
How many of you have created a character, brought him/her to life, had to make something happen to him/her (throw rocks but don’t kill) and found yourself aching over his/her pain?
It isn’t the location that brings tears or surprises to the writer or reader, those tears and surprises come from our characters actions, reactions, and decisions to situations we place in their path.
Sure, we are alone when we’re writing, but I’d guess that there are many writers who feel as I do.
Do you have a favorite character you created? Why do you like that character so much? Are they like you? Are they similar to a close family member or friend? Or are they one of those villainous sorts so addicting to include in our writing?
I’d love to hear from you!