Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It's an Irish Thing

 
I’m completely obsessed with Ireland. It started out small, actually. I’ve always had an affinity for Europe as a whole. But slowly over the past few years, the Emerald Isle has emerged as the pinnacle of my interest. My main character, Beatrice, has roots in Ireland. Her father sailed from Ireland to America as a boy. So, she has never been there but her father’s Irish influences carry through to his children: phrases, ideals, songs.
 
During one of those times when writing isn’t fun, I was desperate to coax the muse, so to speak. The book was written—all the ideas were there, but it wasn’t connected. I was at a stopping point and needed inspiration. I went to iTunes to find Irish music—songs to play while I write. There I found a beautiful Irish singer named Cara Dillon. Her voice is sweet and angelic, but holds power and emotion at the same time. I bought a song called “October Winds” because it sounded nice, but it wasn’t until I listened to the whole song that I was in tears. The song completely conveys the emotion of my main character who has lost her father. The song also conveys my own emotions, as I have lost my father, too. And as strange as it sounds, I feel like finding this song was a gift from my father.
 
I put together all the lovely coincidences about finding this song and decided it was meant to be. The song is called “October Winds.” My father’s birthday is in October and long ago in the process I decided to, in honor of my dad, give Beatrice’s father the same birthday as my dad’s. In the book, her father dies in October as well, so it has extra meaning for her. Whenever I listen to the song, it’s like the voice of my character coming through. The last stanza it is this:
 
How long is forever
If I can't see you anymore
I'll miss you most whenever October winds began to blow
Now the leaves have started turning
Wind whispers through my door
And I'm dreaming of my father
Safe in my heart forever more
 
For anyone who has lost a parent or someone close, I want to know if you still feel their influence in your lives. Not the influence of the past—but right now—as though they are still present, helping you with the things that matter to you. I feel it. My father is helping me with this book I’m writing. Not in any sort of creepy way. The influences are small, but they are there. Sometimes it’s astonishing to me that he would even care about a book I’m writing. But he does. He wants me to succeed, just as he wanted me to succeed when he was here.
 
I've never actually been to Ireland. Maybe that's part of the fuel for my obsession. Now, more than ever, I'm determined to go and I'm certain that I will relish the experience when I do. Even though I put a castle as the image, that's not actually what interests me the most. I'm interested in the people, the customs, the small towns as well as the the cities and pubs, the accents. Perhaps my dad will help me find a way to get there.
 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Do I Feel a Draft in Here?

Why, yes I do! It's the first true, printed-out draft of the book I've been working on for forever. I've honestly lost track of the time spent, but I know I was well into my work when my son was a baby. And that baby is almost five.

Part of the problem was I re-wrote it so many times, but none of those drafts were readable with all those layers of revision.

So there you have it. I can't say what a weight has been lifted now that I actually have something to show for all the writing I've been doing. It still needs a ton of work--this I know. But still, it's not just a figment of my imagination. There are 35 chapters there--I just checked.

I thought I'd celebrate by resurrecting the writing blog I started three years ago. And no, at this momentous time, I’m not above woo-hoos! ye-haws! and superfluous exclamations!!! That actually hurt to type those extra exclamations, but my point is made. Now onto revisions...