Still, I survived. I get by. Drugs ease the pain of days and all that. Plus, and this is the real reason I'm grateful, with B having it--I know the worst of things, and I can help her so it won't affect her as much.
Also, and this can't be under-valued, living through things gives you a point of reference as a writer that you just can't research your way into.
My dad was military so I've lived a lot of different places. I've been in a lot of different schools. I've made a lot of different friends. I've had a lot of "first day at a new school" experiences.
My high school experience was bizarre--there is no other word for it. I went through the first three years in the cesspool of moral decay where gangs were prevalent and shootings were frequent, and it was a mad chaos of humanity. The last year I spent at a sheltered school where everyone, other than the guy I dated, was the same religion, and it would have been the polar extreme from where I'd come. I was never popular, but I hung with both crowds somehow. I knew a few rejects--I knew a few popular kids. I saw a lot. I was amused by both those wasting their lives and those sheltering their lives. It felt easy to get into the minds of those around me, because I noticed everything due to my OCD.
After highschool, I did a little college with a focus on English. I stayed in dorms for a while. I went to technical school. I got a job. I got into an abusive relationship. I got out. I met my husband and fell in love. We moved to the PNW--the most beautiful place on earth. I focused on my career for a few years where I met a huge scope of different people and learned what made people tick from an adult's perspective. Then, I had kids--and that opened up the world of parenting, Autism, and therapy. The husband and I went through marital difficulties due to stress. We've bought and sold houses. We've dealt with the suicide of a neighbor. People married. People divorced. People lived. People died. In the middle, I sat watching.
As writers, regardless of what you're writing, it'll only be as real as it is to you.
If you can't understand the lone girl at a new school, you can't write her story. You won't know her story. You won't know how someone will react when they've just received bad news, if you've never gotten a call in the middle of the night--or sat in a doctor's office and heard the words that would change your life. If you've never fallen in love, you can't know what it feels like for the rush of emotions--and the way your heart feels a little like it wants to explode.
If you've never been to Prom, you can't feel the magic.
If you've never been to a funeral, you can't understand the unreality despite proof.
It's true that we'll still need to take a few steps out into the dark of imagination and fill in blanks, but writing a novel shouldn't feel like grasping. You should be able to step into a different pair of shoes and know a few of the steps so you can imagine the journey and the dance.
Anyway, I was thinking about what I've lived through and how much it's impacted my writing. I know why people are the way they are. I know why I am the way I am.
There are days I'd want a redo on despite their value to a writer, so I'm grateful we don't get that chance. If I had to have it easy, I would. Having it hard, though, has been the best resource for my writing, and it's not something you can duplicate or hand to someone else other than through your characters.
One of my friends said that one of my characters is the most like me, but I find myself thinking that every last one of my characters is a little like me--even if it's just in the tiniest way. I'm them. They're me.
Okay, this is a little deep for a Friday--especially after a bunch of silly Flash fiction.
Still, has anyone else thought of how much the bad experiences as well as the good have impacted their lives? Were there specific experiences that really taught you about human nature?
I'll be gone for most of the day, so we'll call it "unplugging" because I also want to work on Scorched. I got a sudden burst of inspiration last night after a week of shuffling along, and I want to work on it before I take off for the rest of the day. Have a good weekend everyone!