Monday, July 19, 2010

Who Am I?

"I've often though that our main reason for being is to rediscover who we really are." LaDonna Paulette

Writing novels was never my dream. However, within the past seven years I've completed three. But in my entire life leading up to the first word of my first manuscript, I'd have to say that writing novels wasn't on my list of things to do before I die.

I often think about what pushed me toward the moment I decided to write a novel. Admittedly, I had never written anything other than quick little poems here and there my entire life. So what possessed me to write a novel? Why is it that one day I sat before the computer with no experience and pounded out the first line?

I've always been a dreamer, a chronic addiction, one that kept me sane. I'd conjure up stories and play them out in my head as sort of an escape hatch from reality. Make-believe was my favorite game as a child. "Let's pretend we're living in a big city and have lots of money," or "Let's pretend we live on a big horse farm and can ride every day." Those are how most of my conversations began with childhood friends, and they'd go along with the idea. Naturally, with aging I stopped beginning conversations with "Let's pretend," but I never stopped doing so in my mind. Soon they evolved into the aforementioned escape hatch. When I wanted to close myself from the day or shield myself from the ugly truths I faced, I'd slip into the subconscious "Let's pretend."

Years later an idea stuck. It played in my head on an endless loop. Something about it said to put it in a more permanent format. "Why not type it?" I asked myself. And as easily as opening up MSWord, the blank page arrived and I began to type. Non-stop.

It was my biggest secret. No one knew what I was doing holed up in the "computer room" from early morning until late at night. Housework begged for my attention. Meals were hastily made. Daughter wondered when it'd be her turn to use the computer. And then the ice-storm hit. No power. I lost some of my work. The report was that it would be days before power restored.

So as I sat huddled in front of the fireplace I finally revealed my secret to my husband. Not only was he amazed, but incredibly supportive. I remember him saying that many say they want to write a novel, but few have the guts to partake. Encouraging words that made me feel accomplished. He's an amazing guy. I'm so lucky.

Thus, I became eager to tell others, and when I did, more encouragement came. Many of my close friends planned an Oprah appearance. One picked out a red dress to wear, certain she'd have a front row seat. They are dreamers, too.

In retrospect I feel as if my life had been in some weird chrysalis, shelled in a cocoon until the real me was ready to spread beautiful wings. I now can't imagine life without writing...

Without giving into self-curiosity and overcoming fears, the joy of accomplishment, the relationships that came thereafter.

If not for embracing the nagging urge to do something more with my life, I don't think I'd enjoy the complete comfort of who I am today. Happy. Content. Ready to learn more. LaDonna Paulette's words have profound resonance. Its insight not lost on this eager life traveler.


Edie Ramer said...

Kath, this is a terrific post! And I love LaD's quote.

I pretend, too. I've always been a dreamer dreamer. I used to dream that I'm flying. Now I dream that I'm selling my books. It does seem that it's part of my main reason for being.

Kath Calarco said...

Thanks, Edie! I fell in love with LaDonna's quote simply because it spoke what I've felt within.

That you dreamed of selling your novels is a testament of believing in yourself, as well as the pride you have in your work. It's scary to put it all out there for others to read, but on the other hand, if you don't take the leap of faith, you'll never know what you can accomplish.

Robin said...

Love the LaDonna's quote. And I loved reading this post! Thanks for sharing and reminding me it's never too late to dream.

Have a great day!