I’m wrapping up Chapter 26, a backstory/past chapter. The main character reminiscing her teen years, already a mother at 18 with her first son and where she was in life. Although my novel is fiction based with real events woven through the scenes, I often find while writing about the past and embellishing quite a bit on the fiction part, I fantasize about an alternate plane. I’m sure many people do the same thing when in retrospect, we can’t help wondering if we’d chosen certain people, places or comebacks, where we would’ve ended up, presently.
Sometimes, it’s fun and other times morose, BUT I don’t allow the past to sneak in and play tricks with my mind. I write it out, and play with those scenes; What if she said “Go fuck yourself.” Instead of keeping her mouth shut with her tail tucked in between her legs, cowering in agony. What if…instead of responding or reacting impulsively, she just walked away and never spoke to “said person” again, or what if she was brave enough to take the leap and make that move to a different city or take the job she was afraid to pursue, disallowing feelings of failure or anxiety to consume her better judgement. That’s why I write. I MAKE IT, WHAT I WANT in stories.
I’m happy and comfortable where I am in life. Nearing my fifties, it’s true what they say, the older you get, you stop allowing silly emotions or trivial life crap to interfere and at times destroy your inner peace. The good old adage “Youth is wasted on the young” painfully and also endearingly quoted by George Bernard Shaw, makes sense now, in my current age.
When I was in my twenties, older people in my life used to share stories of their youth wishing they could go back for a “do-over” or the popular line I always heard as a young person, “If I were your age, knowing what I do now. I’d do things differently.” I didn’t understand this declaration in my twenties and felt somewhat offended at times. I remember a discussion my younger son and I had on a hike we took in Nederland, about generational labeling. He felt offended by the “millennial” definition because he didn’t identify with the mold and criteria of his generation’s theme. I told him my generational label was worse. We were called Generation X aka the “Slacker” generation. He just felt in a nutshell, it was redundant, the need for our culture to label or symbolize any generation, period. I understood his point and agreed. A millennial and slacker go off in the woods pondering what’s better; stop motion animation or computer graphic images, libraries (this sucks Mom, just “Google” it) versus Internet research – Side Note: I really miss the Dewey Decimal System in the old school card catalogs, opening those little drawers to find the card you need to find the book you’re looking for is not the same as using the online computer, I digress, moving on, – reading books in print versus tablets, cell phones versus rotary phones and lastly what’s better–being dubbed a millennial or slacker.
As I grew older, shifting and evolving, these “youth wasted on the young” statements began to make some sense, however in my personal retrospect I’d rather change my trajectory NOW and not go back and do it over again, because that’s part of our life experience. If we didn’t learn from our mistakes or choices how could we pass lessons on to our own children, exemplifying what we gained or missed in our youth, hoping they potentially choose wiser and strive to rise above. Writing this novel has risen a lot of emotive to the surface and it’s challenging to keep up the momentum and yet, at the same time, I find it’s been a rewarding and motivational experience. The more I write, the past stays further behind. I’m finding peace with this cathartic process. On my writing journey, I’ve read some books on inherited family traumas and books based on true stories about children convicted of their violent crimes.
I read Mark Wolynn’s It Didn’t Start With You as a client of therapy and for research. Insightful, gripping (when you have those aha moments as I did reading through this) and resourceful. There are Q&A sections to help you narrow down through the family tree where YOUR own behavior or mannerisms may have been inherited from; Grandma had the same body image issues or Great Uncle Leon on your Dad’s side had obsessive compulsive tendencies. It’s also a short and concise read, narrowing down science and fact.
Two more great reads on Trauma and Drug Addiction (two of the main themes of my novel)
Bonnie Badenoch’s The Heart of Trauma focuses on trauma affecting the brain and how cognitive therapy assist in addressing the client’s healing process. This reads as a college textbook with case studies interwoven guiding the reader in understanding the triggers behind the situation and the deeply embedded root of the trauma causing a chain reaction from the brain and what the brain is experiencing before it even hits the person on an emotional level. Great read, but needs to be read carefully in order to absorb the information provided.
Gabor Mate’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts is a great read on how drug addiction affects the brain and why it’s not so easy for addicts to just stop. I didn’t agree with some key theories he had on root causes behind individual drug addictions, but appreciated his efforts in assisting and addressing the needs of the drug addicts he treated on the streets. This is a long read (about 500+ pages) with a lot of patience to get through it, but he writes engagingly, sharing stories of clients’ addictions and analyzing his own personal addictions (not drug related, he discusses all forms of addiction and how the brain triggers these addictions.) Anyway, for a person who is like me, doesn’t understand and at times isn’t always accepting of addiction because I never had the issue, it was informative and eye opening.
Lastly, I’d like to mention this book I have not read yet and evidently there’s a Netflix movie based on the book. This is a novel about a teen convicted of murder. I pulled it off my bookshelf to read soon, as it relates to my novel in terms of a teen being convicted for a violent crime (not the murder part in my personal circumstance) and because I like to read the books FIRST before watching the film adaptations. Walter Dean Myers’ Monster
I’ve embedded hyperlinks in the title of these books to purchase, if interested, between BookBar and Tattered Cover bookstores based out of Denver. Feel free to find them elsewhere, but as I noted in a previous post, I’m a huge advocate for independent bookstores.
Ok, I got nostalgia and trauma out of the way, or Nostalgic Trauma, however way you perceive, it’s all relative. On a lighter note, when I write emotionally draining chapters and feel the need to shift energies–I tend garden. I incorporated, this year, in my backyard, a fairy garden. I wanted to do this for so long and it’s come full circle. This is the first phase, first development. I’m adding on, as I’m admittedly addicted. I can’t help it, it’s a good addiction though, right?
I wrote a short story a couple of years back about a wife who creates her own fairy garden in the backyard, unbeknownst to her, two magical entities were eagerly awaiting in the shadows, completion of the garden, so they could move into one of the homes she set up. It was a leprechaun named Lanny and fairy named Sheila who moved into the cream colored, copper tin-roofed, green-doored home. My writing group got a kick out of the story. Here’s some pictures I took during the day and at twilight (trying to capture the solar powered homes and blue rock that light up at night but they didn’t in these pictures) to show off my hard work. Building fairy gardens is not easy. I put a lot of sweat and time into this, but it brought happiness and joy while I was working calmly and methodically. It’s the little things people. YOU MAKE IT, WHAT YOU WANT. I have to keep throwing my blog’s core value in the mix. No matter what you’re pursuing in life; YOU Make it what you want.
If you know of any fairies and magical creatures looking for some prime fairy garden real estate, send them to Firestone, Colorado. I’ll be adding more phases, so in the meantime, there may be a waiting list.
Enjoy life, read a book for hours, walk on a trail or in a park absorbing the beauty surrounding you, smile at people even if they don’t smile back, spend time with your loved ones, laugh, breathe, meditate and love. Rinse and repeat; live each day as if it’s your last.