I am reviving this blog and will be posting regularly about my writing life and overcoming loss.
My last post here was Dec 30, 2010, ten years ago. I cannot believe I let so much time pass. On the other hand, it is hard to imagine I could have written during that time because I lost my daughter, husband and grandson several years apart. Much like David, in my story “Good Game,” I was sinking into despair and grief. I would like to take you on my journey back to writing and living.
A Facebook memory popped up on June 14, where I had written that I was excited that “Good Game” would appear in the July, 2013, issue of Thunder Sandwich. That was the last story I wrote until recently. I had a dream a few days later about my father who passed away in 2007. I believe he was sending me a message of hope and encouraging me toward writing again.
It is fitting to discuss “Good Game” today, on Father’s Day, because David’s character was inspired by my father. In the story, David was a professional bicyclist until an accident changed his life. Paralyzed and sinking into despair, he had to learn to live on two wheels. Again. With the help of his service dog and the enduring spirit of his father.
The character David was a composite of my friend, Jim, who was in a wheelchair after a motorcycle accident, and my father. David’s dog was inspired by my late husband and my black lab, Alex. Now, I see a parallel to David’s life and my own. I could not have known back in 2010 when I wrote the story that I would experience the loss of three important people in my life. Or that a dog, my dog Dutch, would play an important role in my recovery.
“Good Game” took a long journey into publication. After being a finalist the 2011 Eric Hoffer Award, it was rejected by 23 magazines before finding its way to print. It was finally the featured story in the September online issue of go read your lunch: http://www.goreadyourlunch.com/2013/09/goodgame.html.
Back in 2010 when I wrote the story, I was proud of it. It was by far my best work. Now reading it ten years later, I see that could have made the story better. First person is hard to write well because we are limited by only the thoughts and emotions of the first-person narrator. I could have made the story stronger if I brought the reader into the story instead of telling them about David’s experiences. There are a lot of “I” and “my” in the piece.
This is a great article from Now Novel on how to wtite in first person: https://www.nownovel.com/blog/first-person-narrative-7-tips/
I think my current work in process will be even better, due to my writing critique group who help me learn as a writer. The story, “Personal Best,” is an autobiographical piece based on recovering from loss through strength training and exercise. Like “Good Game,” there is a supernatural element.
I am ready to start submitting for the first time in eight years. I feel so blessed to be writing again.