This summer I had the privilege of visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For those who haven’t been there, it is a rugged sort of beauty, one in which outdoor lovers are in their element.
Now, I’ve spent lots of time there in the past, but it’s been awhile. Yet, I’ve been there, in my mind. The Upper Peninsula is almost like a character in my book, The Nature of Denial. It was part of what inspired the story.
I remember working through the entire book in my mind over hiking and camping trips. I snuggled in my sleeping bag, listened to the snores of others, and imagined how the rugged nature of the U.P. could help heal a person so badly in need of healing.
Anna (my main character) is not taken from my life or any other person’s life, but the scenery is very much what (for the most part) I’ve seen on my own. And it has, in many ways, healed me, again and again.
Visiting some of my old “haunts” was exhilarating for me, like meeting an old, dear friend. I couldn’t help but smile at references in my book that only I would get as I passed an old (not to be named) questionable motel, a dazzling waterfall, or heard the calming whispers of the forest leaves.
So, that was a part of my inspiration for the book. The other parts are too long to get into for this blog (maybe another one?) but they have to do with themes that I seem to revisit in my writing–struggle, hope, friendship, and love. The world is full of darkness, but there is light around every corner.
“Dreams. Don’t be afraid of them. Immerse yourself in yours. Remember, they exist today, in the here and now, in the what you do in this very moment. Dream big, break goals down small, and start checking them off the list. It’s empowering.”
This is part of an email I sent to some of the high school students that I work with. One of my jobs is to mentor students in an online program. Many of these teens need to hear that they are capable, that dreams are possible, and other positive affirmations. I’m sharing this because I think it’s important for all of us to dream, and dream big.
Whatever the goal–being a writer, promoting world peace, making a decent living doing something you love–it is okay, imperative even, that we are dreamers. Dreamers have created the beautiful parts of humanity and advancements that have altered how we live. So, go ahead, dream a little, and if you have kids, encourage their dreams too!
This day took a mountain of other days to reach, but finally, publishing day has arrived! Am I nervous? Yes! But I’m ready to offer Anna’s story to others and hope that they find the experience worthwhile.
Read it for free! It’s available on Kindle for free starting tomorrow. Read the blurb below, if it’s not your genre of choice, no problem, but please pass it along if you know of someone who might enjoy it.
Darkness is growing within Anna Montagna and she can’t control it. She’s hurt someone that she loves. She fears that mental illness is descending upon her, like it did her mother, except her mother never hurt anyone. Scared and alone, Anna flees to small-town Mikamaw in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to save her family from the monster that she has become.
Anna hopes to find anonymity and solitude in Mikamaw, but instead finds a slightly-psychic friend, nosy locals, and the healing nature of the landscape. Despite the hundreds of miles Anna travels to escape her past, it continues to haunt her. She tries to drown her life’s regrets in alcohol and deep water, but they always resurface. When her husband and best friend find her in Mikamaw, she must decide whether to confront the past or turn and keep running.
When is it okay to call yourself a writer?
If you are reading this, you probably have some interest in writing. Have you written poetry, essays, novels, or all of the above? Do you call yourself a writer?
When is it okay to label ourselves as such? For me, this was tough. I am not the type to talk much about myself, much less advertise that I write novels. I know, we have to promote ourselves and such, but like many “writers” it’s just not my thing.
I have spent years writing, editing, and working to grow as a writer, but I still find it difficult to label myself as much. We had a similar conversation a long while back in my writing group and someone simply said to me, “you are a writer” and hearing it come from someone else’s lips helped quite a bit.
Now when the what-do-you-do conversation comes up, I list my other occupations and include that I write novels. It’s hard for me not to cast my eyes down when I say this part but I resist because if I can’t call myself a writer, why would anyone else?
So, when should we call ourselves writers? When the big publishing house calls? After our self-published books sales reach some magic number? Or after we’ve invested years of time and energy in developing the craft even if the masses yet haven’t consumed it?
I’m not blogging this because I have the answer, clearly I don’t!!! But I’m curious on your thoughts out there. So, I put it to you… When did you start calling yourself a writer? Or when will you?