I get a lot of polite smiles when I tell people I have a BA in History. Even my dad shook his head and told me how much he hated history classes, how boring they were. I get it, I really do. The feeling isn’t the same for me, but I understand why people’s eyes glaze over sometimes when they read history books. Too many of them are written by people who act as if they’re still doing it for a grade.
My story is pretty simple. I have a degree in History because of Math. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a passion for history. What I have is much less passion for Math. In fact, I don’t have any passion for Math. Nor any real aptitude for it. It’s a truly loveless relationship.
It isn’t that I didn’t try. I made it a week and a half in the math class I took at the local community college (the remedial one that failing the automated test puts you into so you can learn enough to take the lowest level of real math). I understood more of what was going on in the French class I took.
When I left to complete my BA at a university, I worried about the obstacle of another math class. Then I perused the requirements of the History department. The classes sounded great and there wasn’t a single math class listed. It was made for me.
I studied medieval and reformation Europe, the history of Africa and Germany along with a class on the fall of the Soviet Union. It was awesome. Don’t ever let anyone tell you college doesn’t have a place for everyone. Even History geeks can survive.
Sometimes I believe there is always a way…sometimes I wish the door would close forever. Life is a complication of choices, death a clear-cut selection.
Sometimes I think now is as good a time as any…sometimes I think yesterday was easier, it held more promise, perhaps more delusion. The truth lives more in today, taking hope in its own direction.
Sometimes there are no answers…sometimes there are no questions, simply facts. I am responsible for me, no one else, even if no one recognizes me anymore.
At this point in my life, no one seeks my heart with the intensity of a lover. Many are in my heart, but they arrived there by default or have been there so long they don’t notice its walls surrounds them anymore.
I realize day by day my heart has become a city that others inhabit but no one owns…or wants to own, at least not more than a small piece of it.
(A rainbow-colored, glittery one at that)
I love parades. Apparently so do lots of others. Like the folks here watching the parade I went to on Saturday. I like to get out from behind my computer every once in a while, to see the “real” world so I can create realistic, “normal” characters. Just a good writing skill I’ve learned.
(This is me, trying to have it all)
Writing is an obsession. Writing is a chore. It’s the strangest dichotomy I know of to love something that makes you want to pull your hair out. Stories never stop meandering their way through my head. The problem is they don’t meander onto the paper, or the computer screen, at least not with anything resembling ease.
A second level of frustration, for me at least, is the vast difference in those stories. I love to write humor, to know that people are laughing at the words I put together. But I also love to write gut-wrenching emotion. I like mayhem and destruction. I write dark and sometimes morbid plays, humorous romance novels, contemporary murder mysteries and fantasy short stories. Perhaps I need mood management more than lessons on my craft.
And a bit of shameless promotion:
The latest review for my novel, Ghost of a Clue, from The Wild Rose Press can be found here: http://www.drcpromotions.com/2015/05/review-a-ghost-of-a-clue-by-debra-doggett/
You know how writers like to talk about their writing space? Well, for the moment, this is mine. I did something I’ve done far too many times in my life yet again. I moved. If you want to get an idea of how often I’ve done that, I have three children, each born in a different state. You would think I’d be better at it than this. I have, however, got much less stuff to move these days. It’s still a pain though. But, back to writing.
Do you know what this is (besides a testament to the amazing graphic skills of cover artist Debbie Taylor)? It’s a testament to perseverance. Or possibly to procrastination, depending on how you look at it.
I started this book about six years ago. Today I got the release date for it: August 19, 2015. It even won a prize. Yes, I was one of those people who submitted the first three chapters which they had honed to perfection without ever finishing the whole thing. An editor requested it. Did that motivate me to finish the damn thing? Nope.
You know how they tell you that if you write even a paragraph a day you will eventually complete a novel? It’s true. It’s also true that if you only write one paragraph every six months, it will take you a hell of a long time to complete that novel.
Each paragraph of this came out of me with a bit of blood loss (okay, that may be a bit of a dramatization) but it is my triumph over my inner critic, who is always quick to tell me I suck at writing. This is possibly the best writing I have done to date. I hope you’ll check it out this August. Of course, I will be happy to remind you.
A rare find on a ramble through the neighborhood: truth in advertising:
I’m beginning to suspect this is the year I lose my mind. It’s doing more than wandering these days and I get a bit frightened by some of its observations about the state of things.
I’m also not always sure who it’s talking to. It doesn’t appear to be me because I don’t know what the hell it’s talking about and if anyone talked to me in the voice it uses I’d run away far and fast.
My worst fear is becoming the belief that I can’t lose my mind and I’ll want to. That I can’t get this new strange dialogue in my head to go away. Instead it will only keep talking to me about weird shit in a voice I don’t recognize until I succumb and start answering back in nonsense rhymes. Why my answers should be rhymes I don’t know. Something just tells me the voices would like that.
I’ve thought a lot about the word “normal” lately. As I survey the chaos that is my life these days, I wonder if such a label has eluded me all my life or only since I became unbound from the constraints of children to raise and a husband to please. Wondering has convinced me I have always slipped the bounds of normal.
Take my senior trip for instance. The “normal” girls in my high school headed to the beach in Florida to lay in the sun, look at the boys and think about doing more than looking. My friends and I turned up our noses at such conformity, packed ourselves into a VW bus with my friends’ mom at the wheel and headed off on a road trip. We walked the Natchez Trace, peeked into the windows of Elvis’ birthplace (on a back street in Tupelo) and wandered Shiloh battlefield. Bet you can’t tell what subject interested us most. That’s right, boys.
Our trip came to a dead halt when we stopped at some friends of my friends in western Kentucky. There were boys there, of the kind to make a young girl stop and stay a while. We did more than look. We walked under the moonlight and a few kisses were exchanged. Still my idea of romance after all these years. And far better than normal.