Studying Yourself

Consider studying your own behaviors and those of family and friends. (Do NOT share the insights and analyses with anyone whom you do not have an enduring friendship. Your thoughts expressed may be hurtful.) “Why, you ask, does this have anything to do with my work as a writer?” Think of yourself as a character that reveals herself on the page. How might you do that through their words and actions? Fully developed characters engage our reader. Isn’t that what we all want?

I spent four days with two longtime close friends this past week. I spoke aloud about my own situational distress, and the result was a communication breakdown lasting hours. After a conversation with them about their reactions to my words, my own characters, Musa and Ferenc Ruttka, came to light in a new intimate way. What might have been underlying hurts of theirs. My own “issues” surfaced in a dramatic manner that stunned my dear friends. When I announced in what they felt was an angry voice, they were hurt. They each believed I was blaming them. That was never my intention. I did not realize the umph of my tone and words.

We were all misunderstood.

The entire day and evening were strained. I felt it but couldn’t identify the WHY. Neither one gave me feedback at the time or even later that day, but I knew I had screwed up.

So who cares? Probably only me in this situation, but a new layer of edification emerged.

My point in blogging about friends’ time together helped me peel away a layer of pain triggered by the past. Ah, “the right brain always wins.”

We brought the incident up later, and we examined where and why this emotion had been triggered. So, so helpful.

Have you heard how novels, particularly first novels, are autobiographical? I get it. We draw from our own lives and those with whom we share a special closeness. Our characters have sadnesses, desires, and beliefs about themselves that erupt in both good and bad choices. Readers can relate and want to know more. That’s our hope, anyway.

Thank you for following,

Sandi

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Story from the Other Side

Thank you to those who indulged my gripe session last week. It does help to write about a few of those instances, but I don’t have to share it every time.

I had a quite the weekend attending a spiritual and metaphysical group selling their gifts and talents: everything from massage and Reiki to healing stones and palm reading. Surprisingly it was entertaining and edifying. I learned from others about their life experiences and much about myself.

I must say upfront that I’m not a believer in most of the metaphysical arts but am open to listening to others’ beliefs. Adding a propensity for a belief I haven’t adopted to a character’s belief system without judgment might be a layer to consider when writing.

The mesmerising conversation of the day was with a man wearing a UFO graphic T-shirt. While waiting for a friend to finish her reading, we struck up a conversation about UFOs. We shared a few personal experiences and I moved on more brazenly asking him if he thought BigFoots exist. Well, we are in the Pacific Northwest, after all.

He hesitated for several seconds and said, “Yes.” I wondered about asking more. But being the nosy woman I am, I had to ask if he had had an experience with one. Laugh if you will, but I think their existence is entirely possible. So many new species are being discovered regularly. Now, this is my opinion, OK? No need to disagree formerly.

He told me a bizarre story of riding on a nearby trail into the Coast Range enjoying the peace and quiet of the journey. He’d gone a few miles—maybe 5 or so. Everything was quiet: no birds chirping or little animals scurrying about. This strangeness cued him to stop and listen. He heard a creature thrashing through the brush close by and then stop abruptly. This man got back on his bike and the thrashing began again. He knew it wasn’t a bear knowing their behaviour from living in the Klondike area of Canada. He believed a large cat would be stealthy and unheard.

He hopped on his bike and sped up the trail as fast as he could pump the pedals. The wild snaps of branches and brush began again.

He told me he was terrified. “No person could have kept up with me and other large creatures would have struck by now.”

The speed resulted in him falling off his bike and terrified he stood up and yelled as loud as he could.

Then he listened. Nothing. Silence. Then a bird began singing. Soon other noises of a healthy forest picked back up. It was then he felt safe to high tail it back to the trail head.

He has not been back since this event 4 years ago.

Hearing this story from someone reminded me of how much I miss from not being available to listen and ask questions.

Thank you for following,

Sandi