From the time I could hold a pencil and learned how to form letters I wanted to write stories. All the time. As a child I was never without a notebook and I was forever scribbling. I didn’t just complete school writing assignments – I created whole worlds and series, and even a soap opera in my later elementary school years. My passion was great and everyone thought I was going to be a writer.
So what happened? How I am 45 years old publishing my first book? Why did I stop writing almost entirely in my late middle school years? One reason. A boy.
Once I discovered boys in a big way, I shrunk like a cotton shirt in a hot dryer. My dreams, ambitions, and most importantly – confidence, just went away. Becoming a young woman made me self-conscious and full of doubt.
I don’t know how I allowed this to happen, and I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I’m not proud of it, but when I got divorced at age 36 I realized that I didn’t have my own life. My son even made the comment when he was about 14 that I have no interests, and he doesn’t understand why girls have no hobbies once they stop playing with Barbie dolls. Ouch.
I realize many women do have hobbies, but I find that a lot of my long time married and coupled girlfriends don’t. I think we need to be careful that we don’t allow romance to blind us to all the other wonderful aspects of life. My single years allowed me the opportunity to cultivate close friendships, and to do some deep inner exploration.
I discovered there are many kinds of love, including wiener dog puppy love. Becoming a dog owner for the first time 5 years ago indulged my maternal instinct as my son became a young man, and Daisy provided comfort at a time when loneliness often crept into my world.
But wiener dogs sometimes poop on the floor and chew on your couch, so I needed to get out in the BIG WIDE WORLD. I did my share of online dating and joined a singles meetup group. There I have met countless friends and discovered new hobbies, like biking, hiking and dancing my ass off. I am learning French again. I even picked up my clarinet and am toying with taking lessons.
I have spent the past 9 years getting a life, and more hobbies than I can handle. But I remained afraid of pursuing my first love – telling stories. Sure I told stories all the time – nobody can out-talk me! But I didn’t write them down, and I sure as hell wouldn’t share anything I wrote with other people. What if they thought it was stupid?
During my divorced years ‘writing’ had begun calling my name in a nagging way. Mostly a whisper at first, but about 2 years ago it started yelling in my ear – “Hey, someday you’ll be dead so don’t you think you should get moving?” Seems harsh, but the delicate approach doesn’t work with me. I need my ass kicked.
Around the same time I began a new relationship with a man who has turned out to be the love of my life. One that has healed all my past hurts and brought me to a healthy place with romance…and life. This man inspires me to do my best, to try new things and to be myself. He got me to sing karaoke! In public! A lot! And love it. Anyone who knows me knows this is a feat of epic proportions. He needs to put this on his list of major life accomplishments.
I know this is not earth shattering stuff for many people in relationships, but for me it was a foreign as table manners to a monkey.
So I decided, after another year, to start (I am so slow to get started, but then I take off like a bullet!). Just write something. Even if it was silly. No one has to see it. It’s just for me. These are the rationalizations my deluded mind created when ‘writing’ started screaming at me and dragged me to the computer. Suddenly my head emptied of every idea that must have been tucked away since I started wearing a bra. Now I can’t stop them. I wish I had waterproof paper for the shower so I could jot them all down. It’s a mad dash not to lose them. I wake up in the middle of the night and have to pull off the road while driving.
I’m back. The little girl with the notebook and all the big and sassy ideas is back. And the ironic thing is that what killed her in the first place has brought her back to life. A boy. A love affair with a boy brought me back to my first love.
How’s that for a romance writer’s story?