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Monday, November 21, 2011

Why does the sea rush to shore?

People keep asking me why I wrote a book. There is no simple, easy or short answer.

I remember writing reams and reams of childish drivel on eight by eleven yellow pads when I was in elementary school. I remember people telling me along the way that I should write a book, but I felt that I didn't have a single idea or anything to say. A blank piece of paper terrified me.

I can recall in my working life feeling cheated, knowing, in fact, that I wasn't living up to my potential. Well aware of my shortcomings and overwhelmed by the circumstances of life I carried on in jobs where I was a square peg in a round hole.  Always the misfit. Then when all the dust settled, when things finally hit a bit of a stride again, albeit a dysfunctional stride - like walking with a cane or a crutch, but still vertical - I took one of those online tests. "What is your true calling?" Lo and behold, it came back that I had the heart of a writer. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I carried it around in the back of my mind for awhile. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.....yada..yada. Once thought about being an English teacher.  Once considered going into journalism. Once upon a time....

Then one lovely, sunny morning, standing on an "N" train into Manhattan, the whole thing landed in my brain. I had a story, my own story. OK, I can't make up fantasies, I'm no romantic and I know nothing of sci-fi. I couldn't care less about vampires. Soooo over that.  But I had a story, a real one. I always personally preferred true stories over fiction anyway. Not only did I have a story, but I felt it was, in some small way, relevant. That other people would derive some knowledge, perhaps, and certainly catharthis.  Anyone who has ever had a relationship (or one that failed) or a child (or one with a disability) could relate to something in my book. My book. My book.

It took me five years. I still had to work and I still had a disabled daughter to deal with. Still dealing with as a matter of fact. It doesn't seem to get much easier in spite of time. I did most of the writing while recuperating from surgeries. Yes, plural. Due to Rheumatoid Arthritis, in the last several years I have had to have some joints repaired. Feet, neck, hip.  It's been a tough road, but I can't stand daytime TV, I hardly watch TV at all, so writing was how I filled my time.

My husband seemed disappointed that the end result was only 160 pages. I was surprised, actually, that it was so short, I could have expanded. I could have added more people, more animals, more incidents. I could have delved more deeply into my own consciousness and added more details. I felt constrained by deadlines (I had to go back to work) and needed to get it done or I would always find an excuse. Obviously I didn't churn it out cookie-cutter style, it is not a formula book - I wrote from the heart. I deliberately tried to keep it succinct, to stay on point, to follow through from beginning to middle to end.  Longer isn't necessarily better. Sometimes longer is just....longer.

Why did I write it? Because I had to. I was something I had to do. And the funny thing is, when I thought that this was all I had, then came more. I have had several people who actually read "Astoria Story" ask if I am going to write another. I would like to. I already have a title in mind. The last ten years have been exceedingly interesting. There are two children's books I would like to write. And, surprise, surprise, there is a novel I would like to write. That will take alot of work and time.

Since I still have a "day job" I wonder what it is people really think. I have given several co-workers a copy of the book.  No one has given me any feedback.  Several dear friends from long ago have been very kind, but the people around me, who know me today, I just can't tell what is going on. They look at me like I have three heads. One person gushed to the point where I had to shush her. It was too much, so I assume it was all just phoney. And silence. Am I being mocked? Should I be embarrassed? Is it so horribly bad or is it good? It's an indie publication and I alternate between putting myself down for that and being pretty proud.

Why did I write it?  The same reason I am finishing my degree. I don't want to die without saying I did it. I am more than a high school graduate and I am more than a secretary. I am a writer. I am a writer, it is how I define myself and so I wrote a book.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Astoria Story

You cannot eat, there is no money
You cannot pray, you don't believe anything anymore
You cannot love, you are too busy surviving from day to day...

What do real people do when their world falls apart?
They move to Astoria.......
"Astoria Story" my first and hopefully not last book. It is available at Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions and also via for other applications. Please visit the Facebook page titled "Astoria Story"