I got mired in words rather early in my life.
What else would you do if you had three brothers who balked at taking you to catch tadpoles or ride a water buffalo? Me? I read and drew; then, I wrote.
I love words. Beautiful seductive prose.
If you want to know what I mean, try reading Evelyn Waugh’s, Brideshead Revisited. If nonfiction is more your thing and like me, you get into artsy stuff, try Robert Hughes (particularly Shock of the New).
Words are great containers—for adventures, memories, stories; even art.
I devour books. Sometimes. When I’m not writing. I read all kinds. But when I write, I need happy endings.
We deal daily with sad stories and I saw too many depressing ones when I had a regular job. I can’t spend gobs of hours writing about them. So, when I spout words of fiction, they dance around a love story; but since I can’t help being what I am, I also bore into protagonists’ thoughts, emotions, inner conflicts, insecurities, and struggles to grow.
I love Jane Austen and her approach to women’s fiction; and wish I could write like her. But she’s one in a hundred million.
When I first got mired in words, I fashioned little stories, now lost in the many moves I’ve made since high school. I’ve since squandered words on less fanciful stuff.
I’ve lived and traveled in many places, from Asia to Europe. I’ve often ended up in Paris, though—my favorite place in the world. Twice, I stayed six months. (would have stayed longer but I had duties and visa issues) So, I’ve become something of an observer-wanderer. A flâneuse, as the French would say.
What else would I do with those little adventures? Get them mired in words, as I’ve done on Journey on a Limb.
In my youth, I told my parents (who held a tight rein on the moolah) I wanted to be a journalist. They said, “No way!” The only real careers are in science. So, I failed physics at university on purpose to convince them science wasn’t a good fit for me. Devious of me, I know.
How about psychology? It’s social science, I insisted. They agreed, reluctantly. I got a mere substitute for the dream. But one must compromise. Psychology turned out intriguing. And it paid my bills.
Now, the mind is what fascinates me most. I worked in mental health programs. But I didn’t do therapy. Too queasy and too short on attention span. So, I researched and developed programs. And wrote like an academic. Not a good thing if you want to sound like a normal person. How else would I get out of that kind of rut?
Write happy stories as an antidote. But happy stories tinged with emotional angst.
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