I’ve been asked many times, “where do your stories come from?” – and I tell them they come from experiences. I take one piece of my life and spin a tale from there. It may be a small fragment or a haunting memory, but it is still a starting point for a story I create.
Isn’t life simply that…a story? I’ve experienced a lot, so I have a lot of “starts” to create a story from. Old as I am now, I plan to get older and experience even more…hoping to keep it on the happy, happy, happy side of life.
This last book I wrote was driven by an unpleasant memory. It was created from my childhood about molestation. Because of this experience, the remainder of my childhood and young adult life carried the unspeakable shame locked deep inside me. I was in my twenties before I told anyone. It took talking to other family members before I understood it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t something I did. It was my grandfather’s fault, his sinful nature…not mine. But it hovered regardless. After my first confession, I put the situation away in an attempt to heal. My plan in life had been to marry once, have six children and live happily ever after with the white picket fence and all the trimmings. But something went wrong, I didn’t heal; instead I continually made mistakes with the choices of men I invited into my life. As a young woman I picked men that didn’t respect women…because I didn’t respect myself. I didn’t understand what I deserved in life and no one could get inside my head to help fix the turmoil. Though I have beautiful children created from those marriages…multiple marriages there has been…I feel pretty sure I got it right this time. The scars don’t ever leave…they are there forever. My grandfather has long since died. No longer a threat to me or anyone else. It took more years than I care to admit to get past the nightmares. The memories cling but are easier to push out to the sidelines now. When I was a little girl, my grandfather, after rescuing me from neglect, after making me feel safe, ripped that safety away. He left me floating in space with no solid ground. No promise of a safe tomorrow. No promise of a future without scars. I have forgiven him for what happened, but forgiveness does not include forgetting. I can’t really escape what happened, but I feel somewhat “normal” regardless. And though it carries a lasting affect, I no longer choose to be a victim…I am a survivor.
But what if someone couldn’t survive the traumatic affect of such a thing. What if she still felt the hands touching her skin…making her insides crawl with shame? Would you still love her if you knew she had been victim to such a despicable crime? Would she be different than you, could you see her scars…could you feel her pain? Maybe she is so good at hiding the shame of her memories that even you would be shocked at what she is capable of. And this is how a story is born.
When I think about my life, I realize that chapter, though it felt like an eternity, was only a fragment of time.
So, where do my stories come from…they are spun out of my life, my memories…sometimes these memories are full of laughter and joy, sometimes happiness beyond the stars and other times simply of my pain.