Writing Thinks for Me

MM900046559Writing the third book of my trilogy, The Beryl Stone Trilogy, has been an experience quite opposite from the first two. Dancing Naked in the Rain and Stars Walking Backward were an experiment of the unknown. All I really knew was that the main character, Megan, was a part of me. She personified that missing piece in my life that was clawing desperately to be seen–not particularly for anyone else, but for me.

Strange as it may sound, I didn’t know myself. Hidden deep within were little pieces of a puzzle that hadn’t found their place in the big picture. This isn’t unique. I think there are a lot of people who have been scurried into a life and then live it bravely. I’m also aware that many rebel and fight furiously to replace the missing pieces.

Writing showed me who I wish I’d been all my life–someone willing to take chances (without fear–well, maybe a little, but not the kind that stops you dead in your tracks and shoves a dream away to a place hard to reach). I’m not talking about dare devil stuff–don’t care to be Evel Knievel or Harry Houdini.

In Dancing Naked in the RainMegan puts down her chalk (yes, she’s a teacher just as I have been) and dares to attempt her dream. (Hence, the title, daring to do something a bit out of the ordinary.) Aww, rather slobbery, I know. But I think you’d probably agree: when we look back on our lives, we realize that there are things we wished we’d done.  I always wanted to write. Of course, there’s a difference, I don’t think I even knew how much until I began Megan’s adventure. See, I told you I didn’t know myself.

In Dancing Naked, Megan’s off to Scotland, writing her way across the Highlands, when she meets a man and circumstances that make her dig deeper within herself than she knew possible. She finds she must be not only a lover, but a detective, an explorer, and, yes, even a bit of Knievel. (When you’re dealing with the underworld, you either tuck your tail and run or brazenly attack the unknown.)

My apologies to Shakespeare, but Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day,/ And make me travel forth without my cloak/To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,/Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke? Yes, I’ll blame it on the smoke, all those excuses that hamper the way.

In Stars Walking Backward, the second of the series, Megan’s tested again. Just at the point in life when she is ready to settle in to enjoy her dream, her stars begin taking steps in the wrong direction. So, she’s off again on another adventure, and this time she’s without not only her cloak, but also without her wizard. Whoops! Did I say wizard? Well, he’s not really, but he’s something like that. Guess I shouldn’t have told you that.  After all, I  don’t want to spoil it for you. However, I will give you a hint. He’s really there. She just can’t always see him.

Now I’m working on the last of the trilogy. I’ve entitled it Voices in the Dark. And, again, there’s a valid reason for that. You see, Megan has been curious about her Irish ancestors for some time, and she feels that since she is living in Scotland, searching for information on her ancestors would be most timely and convenient.

I had a heck of a time figuring out how to let her do this and keep it interesting for the reader. I contemplated, mused, and talked about it obsessively with my husband before it came to me. Yes, it came to me after I’d read a non-fiction book that a gym friend suggested. It’s funny, after I read the book, I decided it hadn’t helped me at all, but it was right after that that my idea materialized (in my head, of course). The idea was nothing like the book, but somehow it led me to a wonderful idea. And, I am now letting those voices in the dark be heard.

I’m a bit resistant to reading other novels like mine. I just don’t want to be influenced by them. I figure if I don’t read them, I won’t have that problem–obviously. I know, I know, I hear all the time that I should read this author or that author. I just can’t do it. I know how it is. My sneaky little mind would wrap onto an idea and then convince me it was my own. I want it to be mine. Just mine.

As I continue to write, I learn about myself and, somehow,  I learn to think. Oh, my goodness, I’m hearing my teacher voice. How many times have my students and I sat and talked about a piece of literature? How many times have I steered the discussion to the why’s and the how’s of critical thinking? Many, many times. They learned and were better off for it. And now I’m learning.