Monday, November 21, 2011

The Write Addiction

All my life I have been the oddball.  Not quite fitting.  Different from the rest−the rest of the family, the rest of the class, the rest of the co-workers.
I was the one staring off into space−lost in thought. 
It was not that I wasn’t focused.  I was too focused.  Not on what was happening around me, but what was going on in my mind....a whole other world.
I am not sure at what age I started recording some of my daydreams.  I suppose the first stories found their way to paper when I was a child living in Sarnia, Ontario and later as a teen, in Cambridge.  Even after entering the workforce, I continued jotting down character descriptions and conflicts.  Detailed note-taking became an obsessive habit. 
When I returned to Sarnia as a mature mother with a young son, I was still dabbling in a make-believe world.  Faces and personalities emerged.  Happenings grandiose and minute; happenings born of an overactive imagination.
As far back as my memory takes me I studied people. Of course, I did not consider it studying but merely a fascination for behaviour and reaction, emotion and energy.  Everyone was different.  If I could interchange all their characteristics and idiosyncrasies, what kind of person could I create?  I could develop a perfect personality but then their lifelike qualities would soon make them imperfect.
Yes, my fascination for people grew . 
My daydreams and imaginings− those minute scribbles on scraps of paper− became involved stories written longhand on yellow lined pads; the kind sold ten to a package to offices−are they still?−long before computers became the norm.  Those yellow sheets were then rolled and secured with elastic bands, and hidden in my cardboard memory box.
My writings and story tales were my secret.  Not even my best friend knew.  No one knew.  I must have appeared constantly distracted. 
There was never time to consider writing on a regular basis.  I wrote to ease the anxiety of not writing.  There, I would say, I have scrawled fifty pages.  Of course, it was only temporary relief.  My addiction to storytelling was never truly cured.
When I joined the ranks of retirees, I whispered my desire to write.  Write what, he asked.  A book.  That is what I had always wanted.  To create living, breathing characters that made their own way through hardships and heartaches: characters that made choices−some good, some bad− but each having its own consequence.  So write, he said.  Go write a book. 
I questioned why I needed validation.  Did I enjoy writing so much that I felt guilt over time frivolously spent?  Whatever the reason, I had finally revealed my passion.  Go write a book he said.
I wrote.  Words appeared on my monitor faster than I could read them.  Characters took on life: so much so that they took over my story and created their own.  They ignored my development of the plot, seeming to have something different in mind.   
I laughed over their shenanigans and wept when they grieved.  They became important people in my life.  My laptop friends.  I was immensely satisfied when the last line appeared in black and white.  However, I found it was impossible  to type The End.  I hated for it to be over.
A friend visiting from Penetanguishene saw the sheaves of printed paper.  What’s this, she asked.  I shyly admitted that it was a story I had thought up.  Just something to occupy my time, I said.  Something silly and of no consequence. 
She read.  I served her snacks and drinks, and she read.  She read all weekend.  Dawna’s astonishment and encouraging words opened a floodgate.  You have to do something with this, she insisted. 
Could I?  My heartbeat quickened over the next few days of research.  I discovered that if my story was to be the size of a decent novel it needed to be longer.  I read the manuscript looking for openings.  I found them.  I introduced several characters, new situations, more conflicts.  I fleshed out the story and lived with my remarkable new friends a while longer.
And so, I wondered, what is the next step...


  1. I just read this and it was great. You must get your smarts from me.
    Your Brother

  2. Never thought of that but maybe I do! Our other siblings may not agree though.

  3. Great job young lady, I could tell you some very good stories about your brother but you would not be able to put that in writing, ha. Keep up the good work, you go girl. B&B.

  4. Welcome to blogging, Phyllis. I look forward to reading your posts.

  5. Ryan, thank you. I appreciate your support.