Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I spent an intense couple of months doing research into colonial New England for the book I have started writing (though it's not entirely, not even mostly, a historical book, I needed to know what I was talking about for those bits). I did all that research, knowing that February 1st would be the day. The big day. The day I actually started writing. That was my goal. It is now two weeks in.

And how is it going? Well, I've had a few frustrating days, but overall the process has been even more healing and more insightful than therapy ever was. My protagonist is me. Well, not me. But kind of. Her experiences, especially as an adult, differ greatly from mine, but her primal needs, her motivations are all me. And I've had to delve into why I do what I do. I've had to get very uncomfortable, examining me. All of the things she has done, as an adult, I can see me doing if it had not been for some divine intervention. Sometimes I wonder if I had not met my husband at 19, what would my life have looked like? And some of those imaginings are not pretty. Let's just say that if my husband had been George Bailey and he had come to see what I had become if he had never been born, he probably wouldn't recognize the woman before him. Probably would be pretty jarring, and my protagonist has done a lot of things I believe I may have done had I not met my husband at the young age that I did.

The last two weeks have been eye-opening. I've not only had to reach deep down to discover how my abuse changed the very motivations and needs that make up my life, but I've also had to imagine my family's motivations. I've had to step back from villianization, to imagining what experiences they had as children to make up their primal needs and goals. It's been like trying to open up everyone's hearts, without judgment, in order to create believable, fleshed-out characters. And although, I will never excuse what they've done to me or how badly they botched this situation (welcoming a child-molester into your family, a child-molester who abused your own child, is totally inexcusable) I'm starting to see what shaped them and, perhaps, even understand them even more.

And it took me two weeks of intense and exhausting work to suddenly have an epiphany of what my book is about. I had thought about all kinds of different themes - truth, love, validation, hope, etc. But then today it hit me, my book is about FREEDOM! It's about being free from the prison of abuse, the prison of the aftermath of abuse, which can last a lifetime. And only you can make the choice of breaking free of that prison, to release the shame by speaking your truth. I'm beginning to realize that writing this book, may just open up a prison for me too.

My plan from here on out is to post once a week on this blog, to keep track of my writing journey, to write what I am learning because, so far, this has been astonishing.