(third in a series by the author of blogs written in 2008 and 2009)
When I was a kid, we used to watch the HeeHaw show. (I realize that dates me, but oh well.) A part of the show used to be these two hill billies singing this song, and then comparing notes to how miserable their lives were. I loved it -- the comedic part of it, of course.
Now I realize that my life goes in stages. Last week I commented on when I felt at peace, and quoted While You Were Sleeping. What I have come to realize is that our lives are more of a cycle -- we have the good that cycles through with the bad. It's like President Hinkley said in one of his talks -- life is a train ride. You have the long bone numbing darkness of tunnels and night sky, and then brief moments of glorious vistas. (That's not verbatim, but the general idea.)
This past month has been one up and down bit of the cycle. Things have been wonderful one day, and then miserable the next. I realize that everyone has these cycles, and that everyone experiences these same things -- it just seems more important when it's you.
Writing is much like this. Books, or stories also contain the same flow. Most people don't like to read the 'sappy' books where everyone and everything is happy and wonderful, with perhaps one major problem that is over come by the end and everyone walks off into eternity.
While I don't like tragic endings, I don't like sappy books. I like books that have meat to them, a little suspense, a little difficulty, a character that has flaws -- in other words, something that is close to my own life, but just a little better. The little better part gives me hope. It makes me think that my life can get better.
These are also the kind of books I like to write. I try to make my characters real and believable. I try to make the plot a little thicker than Aunt May coming to town and matchmaking Jenna with her best friend's son who just came home from a mission and all the comic interactions. While that may be funny, and sometimes just what the doctor ordered, that's not what I want to write. There is lots of that kind of stuff out there.
And, while my life cycles around, so does my writing. I have found that my writing has changed dramatically from when I was a teenager. It has changed a great deal since I've formally announced to the world I'm a writer. While it has mostly gotten better and more interesting, it has also taken on valleys of murkiness that make the plot harder to find and the characters less fulfilling. I find myself asking the question -- am I writing to make money or to find my true voice? It's not the simple question you would think.
While most of us don't expect to become best selling authors over night, we do want to be published. That's one of the reasons we're doing this blog. We want to be noticed. When we publish something, we want the world to know and take notice and BUY that book. We didn't plan on dying in obscurity -- although you will find that most authors are NOT extroverts. We are content to write in private, with our little computers screens blinding us while the world carries on. We just want our work to be noticed. It would be great if I could continue on in relative obscurity, but it doesn't work like that for the rich and famous of the literary market.
What I'm rambling on about is how everything seems to tie together. The seasons change, we feel up and down about them. Our lives change, they have up days and down days, tragic times and glorious times. Our writing changes, growing, weaving, maturing.
Life is an amazing gift that we have been given. We need to treasure each moment we have to do what we have chosen to do. I'm so very thankful that I've been given this gift -- I just wish it would progress faster!