A good friend of mine shared with me the news she’s writing a book. And she’s so shy that to even have mentioned her peripherally in this post might be making her blush. But she’s also very smart. And I was thrilled to hear she’s undertaking this most admirable of adventures — to explore and enchant with the written word.
She knows I’ve written some children’s books. And she was one of the more influential persons I spoke with in my own tumbling decision on whether or not to self-publish. I’m so happy Sometimes the Moon is now “out there.”
My other children’s books are making their way through the system. I have Threesday all set and ready to go, another book that needs a bit of reworking; as in it’s completely finished, but I want to change some things, and a companion to Sometimes the Moon is written and half-illustrated.
More than enough books right now to keep me busy.
But they’re not.
Busy I am! Busy with raising a five- and a six-year-old, busy with the trappings and trimmings and tantrums that come with a cross-country move (okay, the tantrums are mine), and busy with more ideas than I can hold in my hat, and I don’t wear a hat.
Thus is the fate of the writer. The ideas. The ideas that will trumpet you awake at 4 AM, or restrain you from sleeping until 2 AM so that any kind of AM between 12 and 6 becomes a mire of undeniable attractiveness to a sleep-addled brain and things like whether or not my main character’s name begins with an A or an E become a Rube Goldberg machine of complications and cohorts and challenges and creativity.
Ahh. There’s the word. Creativity.
Such is the power — to create! Such is the liberation, to see a world emerge from the ether. Such is the joy, and the sadness to follow our characters on their journeys which inexplicably puzzle and surprise even us, their creators.
Though I am working on my children’s books right now, I really did write them just for my own children. Never with the intent to “go big or go home.” To be honest, each sale actually surprises me. And perhaps the most “it’s really out there” moment came from a fellow blogger, Karen at FolkHaven, which you can read about soon.
Yet I never set out to be a children’s book writer. I set out to be a writer. A storyteller. And even “set out” is an improper use of that phrase. Rather, writing compelled me like a tractor beam to its warm and emotionally charged interior wherein I might discover not only new compendiums of characters, but myself.
As such, my books, like all writers’ books, are a reflection of myself, by the pure inescapable fact I’m the one who wrote them. Not surprisingly, when I left the world of crime reporting, I dove into a novel about crime reporting. A mystery, based so much on my days chasing after cops and courtrooms. When I became a mother I began a new period novel about, yes, motherhood. And as everyone loves a good mystery, I’m also working on a novel with a bit of a historical edge to it. And to add to the flotsam drifting along the edges of my brain like seaweed on the shore, earlier this year I began a young adult series.
And of course, I write this blog.
Am I alone? In my piling of projects? Not at all! Far from it. Most writers I know (all) have at least one unfinished or unapproved manuscript in a drawer. If they don’t, they are simply new writers.
So when someone asks me “What are you writing?” I laugh. Which is weird, but that’s how I am. Then I smile real big as I try to sum up what I know they are hoping will be a one-word answer. “Mysteries.” “A love story.” Something easily digestible in casual conversation.
But the truth is, I’m a writer. That’s all. Plain and simple as defining the cosmos.