Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I'm a Big Kid Now!
Drum roll please.......cue the music, have the dude ready to jump out of the cake....balloons in place. Crustless sandwiches chilled - check. Tiny cakes stacked on that 'I only use for special occasions' plate - check. Good quality, non-bending paper plates on the table, next to the 'look pretty, but feel stiff' napkins, right along side the acrylic, yet classy, goblets and of course the plastic, but heavy feeling utensils to finish off the scene. Oh it does seem like we have something to celebrate doesn't it?!
Well indeed we do! We are now at the year two mark of the releasing of Secret Agent Mel out of her cage!! Two years since I let the secret out, the secret that I write.
Now I have to admit, in the past year it may've seemed like I've been on a bit of a sabbatical from my secret agent duties because I haven't been blogging as often, and in some ways I guess I have. The picture is a little bigger than just a leave from my blog, I think it would be accurate to say that I've been on a sabbatical from life in general, well life as I knew it anyways.
I've been riding on a hell of a bumpy road these past twelve months, but I've held on tight throughout and I've arrived at my new destination. To me, it feels like weathering a great storm, and then being rewarded with a beautiful rainbow at the end.
Well my rainbow comes in the form of my decision to write a book. You heard right, a book!! Only two years ago, I barely had the courage to tell a select group of friends that I started a blog and now I'm announcing that I plan to write a book and attempt to get it published!! So far nobody has called me crazy - so far. Mind you, being call such a thing would never stop me anyways, where's the fun in being normal and predictable I ask? Exactly!
Many of my friends knew that I wrote poetry, but the fact that I wanted to actually write a book someday, well that I kind of kept to myself. Only recently did I let it be known that I was planning on writing a book, and I should also mention that it was only recently that I informed myself too. The thought of becoming a writer has probably crossed my mind hundreds of times since my first book attempt at about age 9. It never really left my mind, just faded into the background a bit, mostly because I just never thought it was possible for me to do such a thing. I've recently come to the conclusion that one of the biggest things holding me back was knowing that I couldn't write the types of books that I'd read in the past, nor did I really want to either. I don't think I have the patience or interest that it would take to develop a plot, a cast of characters. interesting locations etc, and be able to keep all of that straight. I'm afraid that's just not how my brain works at all, lets just say my noggin's a bit more free-form! I admire people who can write that way, it must take a great deal of concentration and although my mind is a little scattered, I am smart enough to know that, that's just not my schtick! Trouble was, I didn't ever entertain the thought that my schtick, as is, could also be something that people wanted to read. To be honest, I never really even clued in to what was housed in the 'humour' section at the book store. I just knew it as the place to pick up copies of books that were compiled collections of comic strips, I never thought of that section as also containing 'story' type books.
Back in the day when I rode the SkyTrain everyday, it seemed that the commuters were reading either a romance novel or one of those 'whodunit'/medical/law novels. Just the thought of a romance novel makes me shudder, I can't even get past the cover - sorry Fabio. To write a mystery, medical or law novel, well I'm thinking you might need to know a thing or two about those areas.
So why now you may ask, after all of this time have I finally decided to make my 'official' attempt at hammering out a book. The first part of the answer I would attribute to my Sally Field, Oscar moment, 'I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me'.
For the past 2 years friends and strangers alike have read my words and given me praise. Through your notes of encouragement, I have discovered that you have felt a connection to my thoughts, giggled at my madness, dug my quirkiness and not once did you question my sanity - at least not publicly. Even when I revealed that in the intro of my book, I have a dream-like sequence with Frank Sinatra singing my resume, followed by references to Willy Wonka, Charlie Brown, calculus, and binary fission, still nobody flinched!!
Well if that doesn't scare you off, there's no stopping me.
The second part of the answer to 'why now' is the fact that, as I've mentioned, the past 12 months have been probably the most difficult that I've ever been through.
~lower the porch scene, turn the fans on low and insert the crickets chirping sound effect....now you need to picture me in a rocking chair, sipping my mint julep, and as you read this next bit, please do so with a heavy southern accent in your head...
'I have neither the time, nor the inclination to rehash of all that nastiness', 'I simply will say, what doesn't kill you, might just push you towards your dreams'.
....Southern Belle (aka me), turns her head towards the screen door and says, 'Charles, be a dear won't you and fetch me another mint julep', 'I do declare this heat makes a lady mighty thirsty'.
So yeah, the other reason is basically when much of your world as you know it crumbles and falls, you have one of two choices, either lie down in the rubble until someone rescues you, or get up, shake the dust off and start working towards rebuilding your world. I chose to do the latter, what better opportunity to redesign things a little.
I hope you will join me in the celebration of my second birthday. Starting this blog two years ago, has given me a place to release some of the gazillion thoughts that whirl in my head. I need to give a special shout out to my dear and lovely friend Sande, who was the one that first suggested that I should start a blog. Spurned on at the time, by the fact that she found my emails amusing and basically said, 'you should write a blog'. I of course thought she was mad, but there you have, she was pretty sane after all. As soon as I started this blog, I realized quickly that even if no one ever laid eyes on it, it didn't really matter. What mattered most, was I had somewhere 'official' to write my words....paper napkins took a backseat - though I still use them!
The second shout out has to go the sweet and kind Editor of the Langley Advance, Bob Groeneveld, who was the first one to put in type, 'you are a writer'!!! Upon first reading those words I did wonder if he had a drinking problem, but I have since learned to embrace that fact, that I really have felt since I was a child, 'I WAS a writer'. I contacted Mr. Groeneveld about a year ago, with an email that had the subject title 'I CAN'T TAP DANCE!'....it went on to explain a few other things that I can't do, along with a few links to my blog.
I asked him, if he'd be so kind to sometime, have a look at my work and give me his opinion. I explained to him that I knew I needed to work on the 'technical' side of things, and I'm still working on that, but I wanted his honest opinion regarding if I had any real talent as a writer, stylistically. I pressed the 'send' button on that email, then I had a bit of a neurotic Woody Allen moment, the feeling of 'what did I do that for!' I was in full Charlie Brown loser mode! I didn't tell anyone what I had done, I just assumed they'd all see the Langley Advance headline soon enough....
Enter : Dickens era, young capped newsboy -
...Extra! Extra! Read all about it, local Langley woman thinks she's a writer - Editor injures himself from laughing so hard!
The crowds would gather around the newsboy and soon he would disappear in a sea of people desperate to read the tale of such a fool. Oh the horror!!
So I was more than pleasantly surprised when I got Bob's first email, and there wasn't a mention of personal injury anywhere, now that's what I call a victory!
The rest as they say, is history. So I shall continue to write, but my writing time will be divided between this blog and my attempt to compile a collection of short stories, to hopefully be transformed into a book by years end. Fingers and toes crossed.
A sincere thank you to each and every one of you who have taken the time to read my words, and to the many of you who have also taken the time to send me your thoughts about them. You're a big ol' bunch o' sweet peaches, and it's very much appreciated.
I hope you will continue with me on my journey, best to fasten your seat belts though, you never know what the road ahead has in store for you!