First you struggle to finish, then you struggle to edit and submit, finally you struggle to publish. If it ended there, the romantic fairy tale writer ending would be complete, but this is life and as boring as some people make it out to be, I find things are more interesting in my world.
Genre hopping is an art that requires a bit of balance and insanity. I love hopping around but mainly stick with speculative fiction. Except in the case of one great love: NON-Fiction.
When I need to sit down and just think, reading does it for me. Any kind of book, any style (though I ADORE 1st person classics). Reading about people who lived before me and finding patterns and similarities between individuals who lived 100, 200, 300 years ago and now gives me hope for the future. And because all writers have a bit of narcissism to them, I don’t mind telling a few tales about what I’ve been through. (In moderation; I really do hate talking about myself. I’d rather the work speak for it’s damn self, that’s why I write it down.)
Most of my non-fiction has been about parenting or Paganism and my findings on my own journey. It’s where I got my true start. People kept asking me for advice and were so pleased, it was suggested that I write some of it out. From there I had a small column with the St. Louis Examiner and just kept going.
I love delving into new topics and exploring my own hidden depths. So when I saw a call for submissions to write something about a teacher who inspired me I figured I’d take a crack at it. It was for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and like always, the odds were not in my favor. (They never are for any writers-unless you’re Neil Gaiman or something)
I went all in. Got super personal and dug up the most important story of all. the crown jewel of publishing. Okay maybe I’m over exaggerating a bit (Writers never exaggerate, we just make things more fun). The thing is, with non-fiction you have to be as accurate as possible. I sat down and literally typed up a memory I had been carrying for over 16 years. I don’t cry easily anymore, but there were tears.
The only reason I ever wish to publish non-fiction, especially the kind like this story, is to give anyone who may be in a similar situation a little insight. To help in any way I can. I’ve been through some shit and I survived. It could have been worse, but the point is that if I can make it, so can others.
I almost always longhand my fiction, but non-fiction needs a separate process. For me typing is the most mundane, difficult, draining hell that chains one to a desk, but it’s necessary to help squeeze the absolute untainted truth out of yourself.
I did not change names because this story is very short and I am somewhat against name changing in non-fiction. To give a real person a fictitious name seems asinine if you are accurately portraying the events which took place. But it’s somewhat dangerous. haha
Lucky for me, I doubt there will be issues with this bit of inspiration because it is an uplifting story about my most influential teacher. (Fingers crossed because I probably just jinxed it. ) And the story got accepted!
Unfortunately there are instances, or situations mentioned that are painful and involve others. I do not name my abusive x-boyfriend, but he is mentioned, nor did I write this story without careful consideration of the effect it would have on my family. My sister is my go to when I need to make sure that I am not playing the victim or whining too much. haha She lived through most everything with me and I trust her judgement.
Having to warn your mother that you’re about to “air some dirty laundry” is kind of awkward. But love keeps us connected.
My relationship with my father was strained for a while. It’s part of why I appreciated the guidance of my teacher so greatly. I’ve always been a never look back kinda gal, so having to pause and reflect is often hard. Especially when you work so diligently to keep moving forward.
Right now, everything I write is a piece of me. (As all writing should be to all authors) My past is a huge part of who I am it comes through even when I try to push it aside. It’s how we do what we do.
Having to warn your family members, or send off pieces to be looked over so you can do what you love while not hurting those you love is a new struggle. Writing is how I see the world. I move so fast things seem to happen before I can think. Writing is my replay, my magnifier, it helps me sit down for a minute and sort everything out. Fiction and non-fiction alike.
I’m not into punishing people for past mistakes, but I refuse to pretend that they did not happen. This isn’t exactly new territory for me, but it is becoming a tough balancing act. Having to warn my dad about the story I am most proud of and somehow still convey to him that I am glad we’ve been able to move on and have a better relationship isn’t something I ever imagined I’d have to do.
I make no apologies for using my experiences to reach out to others. That doesn’t mean that I wish to do it with grace, dignity, and empathy for all involved.
That idea to wait until you’re parents are dead to do a tell all annoys me. How horrendous! Then people criticize you for speaking ill of the dead.
Society still has a way of trying to hush people. I am no advocate for victimhood mentality, but part of healing and becoming a survivor is talking about what has happened. As my sister said, “If they didn’t want it published, they shouldn’t have acted that way.”
Someday someone will write a terrible story about me and I’ll have to laugh it off. haha Who knows? That’s life.
For now, I write what I want and publish it how I feel is best.
It may come back to bite me in the ass, but I can handle it. Non-fiction is a different breed of writing. It can be funny, sad, uplifting, or dark. Like all stories, there is a voice and I found mine a while ago.