Tag Archives: Feelings

The Power of Life Experience – A Writing Tool

I sometimes wonder if she’s looking down on me and shaking her head in disapproval, while secretly admiring my achievement. I remember her reaction when I told her my dissertation was to be published in a nursing journal, full of pride and admiration. However, the relationship I had with my mum was not always a harmonious one. A long time ago I made mistakes, I am human, we all do. I eventually came clean and declared my gross error of judgment, and suffered the consequences. I decided from then on that I would always be honest with myself, and not to be afraid of living my life my way. This cost me my relationship with my parents; they were not so understanding, and we parted ways for over ten years. I’d tried on a couple of occasions during that time to build bridges, but nothing became of it, until my brother’s wedding. I didn’t want a significant family event to be awkward, so I tried once again, and that time we were all ready to move on.

If I had known then that we would have less than a year to bury our differences and re-build our mother-daughter relationship, I might have done some things differently. Yes, I still would have emigrated, I had already made that decision. I really didn’t expect to be getting that call for a long time. The saddest part was that I’d only just told her the news she had always hoped one day to hear. I was 11 weeks pregnant when I found out that she was terminally ill. Returning home to England was something I did with a second thought. It was the right thing to do, a lot of water had passed under the bridge, and we built new ones. I showed her my scans; she was the only person to know which names we’d chosen. Deep down I think I always knew she would never see her first grandchild. She died when I was 31 weeks and too sick to travel long haul to say a final goodbye. It took me a long time to have closure.

That was 8 years ago today, and a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of her. It used to be in a sad way, but now I sometimes laugh and joke with myself about the fact that sometimes I open my mouth and she comes out. Despite our differences, we parted good friends. Anyone who reads/has read Bruises will now understand where some of my words have come from. They are the product of a very real and powerful emotional experience that I believe you can only write about if you truly know how it feels. It took me some time to write that particular chapter – sometimes I just couldn’t see through my own tears – but it was quite cathartic to use it as part of someone else’s story. Every time I re-read it I could feel the depth of Frankie’s emotional pain. I deal with physical pain all day, every day, but emotional pain is something far more excruciating.

This particular life experience has been a very powerful tool, and incorporating it into my writing has helped me enormously. Of course, I have had many very positive life events too, but oddly it seems to be the sad ones that fall naturally onto the page and make good reading. I hope she is out there somewhere, once again proud at what I’ve achieved, and I don’t just mean my book. However, there is a tiny part of me that is also glad that she can’t actually read it – there are some things a mother doesn’t need to know about, and my sexy imagination is one of them!

Bruises is available from FriesenPress, Amazon, and other major online bookstores.

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Twitchy fingers!

I just couldn’t help myself. Two thirds of my way through planning my third novel and I just had to begin writing it. No self-control whatsoever! My excuse is that, now Bruises is well on its way to being published, I have more time on my hands – I even did some ironing, for goodness’ sake! So, it’s time to fill those gaps with something I actually enjoy doing, and that isn’t going to rot my brain. Thankfully, my husband has a bit of a shirt fetish and has two full closets of the darn things, so I can get away with postponing that particular chore for a while yet. And it really isn’t good for my back or neck; sitting hunched over a computer is much better for me! However, don’t mention the dining room curtains that I promised I would make before starting the next book and which I also enjoy doing….

I have vowed that it will not take over my life, as previous stories have, but now that I’ve started I am already stealing whatever time I can just to get it down and release space for my imagination to occupy. This new story is taking quite a bit of thinking about, to make sure that all the parts finally come together at the end. If I can pull it off it will be one of those stories that begins at the end and takes you back to the beginning, so I almost need to write it backwards – if that makes sense. Also, my other two novels are written in the third person, but I’m writing this in the first, which again takes a bit of getting used to. It’s kind of fun to pretend that I’m the main character.

It will, of course, be rather juicy in places. Hopefully I can continue to provide the reader with the kind of scenes my editor has described as ‘tasteful but smouldering’. I personally find this approach to contemporary romance much more enjoyable. I’m not into the raw, crude use of language, or the graphic descriptions of certain acts that some writers choose as their style. I believe that if we are still going to put this type of book in the ‘Romance’ category then it should at least have an element of romance about it – even in the steamy bits. This is why I describe myself as ‘a true romantic with a dirty mind’. Proper stories with people you can relate to, with a fun sexy side that also gives you the fuzzies!

Right, enough… must crack on!

The Dark Hole

Anger and resentment can lead you down a dark hole. If you find yourself standing at the entrance to that hole you have a choice to make… do I allow the cause of these emotions to push me over the edge so I fall in, or do I use every part of my being to turn away? Sometimes you’ve fallen before you realize it, but because you’ve become aware of what’s happened you manage to cling on to the side and climb out. And, because you’ve previously been at the bottom of that hole on more than one occasion, you know how difficult it is to climb out.

Before I wrote down everything I thought, felt and experienced both physically and emotionally, I fell into that dark hole many times. Not only have I found a way of venting my frustrations, I have also found a way of putting them into a fictional situation so I can let someone else thrash them out. There is nothing more sobering than life experience; sadly I have had to deal with too many of them in recent years.

So, I’ve just climbed out of the hole but something is trying to push me back in. I’ve embraced the thoughts and feelings that this ‘thing’ is creating and put them down in black and white (or purple because that is the only pen I had at the time!!). I will not allow it to win, despite what it has taken this time. Every time I climb out, I crawl a little bit further away. It is not going to be my weakness; it is going to be my strength. It is going to send me in a new direction, because I write my own story.