I’ve been toiling over how to approach the first post of this blog, and I decided to start with a confession. I love good old fashioned people watching. It’s a guilty pleasure. Open, busy, public places are an absolute treasure trove. Waterparks. Airports. Grocery stores on Sunday afternoon. The woman buying hot dogs, Red Bull, Fireball, and 3 Olives cherry flavored vodka. The guy affixing something to the bumper of his truck in a Target parking lot, while surreptitiously looking at me as if he’s doing something dodgy. The mother who has that distant look in her eye, daring her child to ask for that toy one more time before she loses it. The longer I watch people, the more I wonder about them. My mom and I have something we say to each other when we see something odd: I have questions. Isn’t it amazing how we intersect with strangers so often, but only see a tiny fragment of their life while they only see a tiny fragment of ours?
Growing up, I was painfully shy. As a teen, I longed for a huge crowd of friends and some kind of measure of coolness, but I was a background girl. What those who stood in the spotlight and basked in their social standing didn’t know was how much I watched them, learned about them, guessed about them. The word introvert is now some kind of trendy badge of honor, but to those of us who know it from the inside, it’s like being strapped with a sensitive heart with a low battery that depletes quickly in a world where people can’t stop talking about themselves. If there is one thing thirty-one years spinning circles around the sun has taught me it’s that introversion is a gift. I see people for who they are. I long to know their story, the undercurrent that runs within them and fuels their souls. I want to know how they got to where they are, what inspired them, what inhibited them.
Writing has given me the freedom to explore characters who are damaged and fractured and terribly funny and courageous. I create characters who aren’t like me, yet contain the kinds of secrets I can’t tell anyone else. They are my megaphone and my spotlight, exposing my truths in a way that is safe for consumption. I get to be all kinds of people I can’t be in real life.
I’ll never forget the first time I admitted to my friends that I’d written a book. We now lovingly call the night “The Hot Tub of Dreams,” where during a girls’ night in a backyard Jacuzzi, bottles of wine ran dry, and inner passions came pouring out. I was terrified to say it out loud, but the rush I got from their reaction—their pure, supportive reaction—was more intoxicating than the red wine in my plastic cup. That was when I knew I was going to be a writer. It was what I had been looking for all along.
Much has happened since “The Hot Tub of Dreams” night. I have changed, and been changed, but one thing has remained the same. I am completely and utterly in love with writing. I love to tell stories about people who are flawed, who want redemption, who find themselves along the way, just as I have. This blog is devoted to those dreams I have been cultivating. It’s time they spring from the sanctuary of my inner circle and into the hands and hearts of anyone who will listen.
One of my favorite shows is Orange is the New Black, and one of my favorite elements used in the show is when they feature the backstory of a character through flashbacks throughout the episode. There never is a big reveal or the moment when they were arrested. It’s a fraction of time, an exposure of what created them, like a photograph soaking in a dark room. There’s no beginning, there’s no end, and they always leave more questions than they answer, but once the episode concludes, I always have a different impression of them. It pulls me inside the character, makes me feel for them—whether its empathy or disdain.
It’s hard to write a story from beginning to end. I never do. I start somewhere in the middle, build the plot in pieces, put it all together. Within those fragments are the moving parts that make up the story. I want to tell thousands of tales, but I have neither the time nor the stamina to do so. This blog will do just that. Tell a fragment. Make a sculpture and leave it unfinished. Maybe throw in a book review or two and some thoughts about writing. I can’t wait to share the products of my unyielding imagination, and I hope you enjoy them.