Saturday, November 01, 2008

An invitation--throwing off the wet pants!

If you've never visited Elaine's blog I encourage you to do so today. Her father writes an incredible story. Why did this post hit me? Because I've been struggling with a thought and when I read what her dad wrote--I knew I'd found the answer.

OK--don't pop over there just yet.

Let me tell you what I've been thinking about first.

My Fiction Writing Skills.

Yes--my fiction skills because you see, most everything I've ever written and had published has been nonfiction--until I got the crazy idea that if I was ever to be a real writer I had to write a fiction book.

Going back to Elaine's father's post (you can read the real version later)--I thought about my three earliest memories. One of them had to do with wetting my pants in third grade. Really embarrassing for a shy little girl.

My second earliest memory is going to a family reunion with over fifty cousins and not knowing anyone. I wanted to sit by my mother's side the whole day.

And my third earliest memory is of when my mother left me at a Brownie meeting on the wrong day and I had to walk home across town all alone in a snow suit.

Most of my memories involve embarrassment and being insecure in a situation-kind of like I am with my writing. Elaine's father said most of us are still working on overcoming the feelings from those early memories. I think his words might be true when it comes to my writing.

Sometimes it is much easier to stick to what we feel comfortable doing. I like writing nonfiction--I have a nice folder of clips that I can riffle through when I feel unsure about my abilities.

But fiction--ah . . . now that's a family reunion just waiting to be attended. I have the choice to attend or stay home. Going won't make me a better writer but it just might be fun. This time I'm going to put on my biggest smile and walk into the crowd and see what happens.

How about you? Are you still working on pushing through some of your early memories and how are they showing up in your writing endeavors?

Now--please go read that awesome post and see what your take-away is!


Angie Ledbetter said...

I never thought about early experiences shaping us as writers, but now I will.

Ya know, you can always put on a pen name and see if the anonymity lets your writing roam free.

Congrats on that big fat stack of clips, and happy Saturday!

Linda said...

Thanks for the great post, Terri. I just popped over to Elaine's blog as well. I have always thought that I didn't have many childhood memories, but as I read these posts I remembered some funny little things that I'll share later over in My Own Velvet Room.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

You are kind, and I just knew when my dad sent me his thoughts yesterday, I wanted to post them. I've been thinking about some of my own earliest memories and will probably post about them sometime next week. It's hard to go that far back, isn't it? I'll send my dad a link to come over here. He's technologically challenged, thus, he may not make it.

I've been trying to encourage him to blog these writings. He's written a book of stories that he self-published. I think I'll make mention of that on the post.

Happy weekend~elaine

Tracy said...

So, I'm not the only one with embarassing memories? ;) I enjoyed reading this - though for me, I've always loved writing fiction! I'm going to have to pop on over to Elaine's as well. Blessings@

Bobbie Klein said...

Great blog - one would have to say 'you have the gift of blog!'
Truly - in just a few short words you manage to be insightful and give others something to carry with them through the day. :o)

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Most of my fiction writing is built on memories that still haunt me from my past. Even though it's fiction, it helps me to work through so many hurtful memories of abuse, abandonment and nightmares.

Small Footprints said...

I think it's great that you are pushing yourself to try fiction. Whenever we push ourselves to try something new, we grow ... and sometimes we surprise ourselves with what we can do ... what was just lying there, waiting to surface.

I like Angie's comment about using a pen name. That way, you can explore all of your earliest memories without becoming too vulnerable.

Take Care!

Small Footprints

Barbara said...

Most of my posts seem to be about early memories (mostly good).
Thanks for sharing part of yourself with us.

I'll check out the link.

Kasie West said...

Thanks for the post, Terri. You know, I believe all of us are a little shy about sharing our work, fiction or non-fiction. It's such a part of us. I know that the days I have the most trouble writing are the days I start thinking about what others are going to think about the finished product. When I write for myself and no one else, it flows easier. So, I say, write like no one is ever going to read it. You'll find you're braver and more honest to your characters and story. Good luck. I love writing fiction.

Anonymous said...

I keep a writer's journal. I also keep a daily journal (have ever sense I was a teen) but the writer's journal is for when a memory jolts my brain. I quickly grab my book and write it down. Somehow a piece of me always goes into a piece of fiction I write or someone from my past (whether family or friends or co-workers).

I only have one published piece of work and it's a book of my early years as a child, a teenager, and a wife (to my first husband). Sometimes I regret publishing that piece, but after other people have read it it seems that they really get the reason why I wrote it (to release those memories from my brain whether good or bad to make room for new).

Fiction has always been my favorite because I can incorporate those feelings and memories in disguise. My dilemma now is conquering the "short story". I have trouble with word count...incase yall haven't noticed with my Good luck to you and your new journey.

Pat's Place said...

Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and DO IT! I have done that before and surprised myself at how well I can overcome those difficult experiences now. Guess maturity counts for something nowadays!

Jessica said...

Oh, I'm so sorry about those memories. It seems I remember painful memories too.
You're right though, they're wonderful fodder to make our writing more powerful.

AnooCre8ion said...

Terri, so often I think of writing fiction as well, but then I think I can't really go there.
I also have some embarassing childhood moments that I would rather forget. I was very very shy and insecure and it took me a long time to grow out of it.
Your post has been encouraging and maybe one of these days I will just try my hand at it.


Jen said...

Well, some of your post entered the realm of freaky coink-i-dink for me.

I, too, had an embarassing lapse in the third grade. I was terribly shy, especially having just moved to a new city after my parents split up. Oh, the humanity! I still cringe to this day.

And I remember having to walk all the way home one very cold winter day from across town when I went to CCD and found out that it had been cancelled...due to weather. Argh.

Some of these early memories are things I draw on when writing my fiction (I rarely do anything non-fiction), but not directly. It's more like I summon up the emotions those experiences caused, and apply them to the writing in different, though slightly similar circumstances. Kinda Method-y of me, I know. LOL

I try to stay away from any autobiographical tinges wherever possible, though. I'm weird that way.

Good post, very thought provoking. Thank you!