Monday, October 18, 2010

Life's Sensations

I'm getting ready to post this week's article for Women's Memoirs.com and saw some nice comments on my last one.  Always a shot in the arm when people respond to what you've written.  This week I'm writing about Life's Teachers.  I got the inspiration from the quote, an old Buddahist saying:
When the student is ready, the teacher arrives.
I realized it's going to have to be two parts--my life has had many teachers.  And this student wasn't always ready the first time.

Last week, "Writing Life's Sensations," was good therapy for me.  It's not what it sounds like.  The sensations in my article weren't all good.  Sensations aren't always possitive. 

I wrote about seeing my life like a speeding train going by which would stop suddenly, long enough for me to catch a glimpse of a scene from my life, and the first one the train stopped at was one I hadn't thought of for a long time.  The sensation of the scene was hurtful because I was being bullied. 

While I was working on this, there was a lot of news on TV about bullying going on in schools and kids actually commiting suicide.  That's real scary, don't you think? 

The bully in my life was in my family.  A step-Aunt who was only a few years older than me but very BIG!  And I was little.  I tried to stay out of her way, but I was only about six years old and not too smart.  She even tried to drown me one time.  Thank goodness Grandpa was nearby and rescued me.  And punished her.  She was his stepdaughter by his second marriage.

The thing about writing--you're not real sure sometimes where the story will end up.  Yes, I write from an outline a lot, but not always.  Even when I do follow an outline, the story will just take off on its own and I'll have to let it go and try to keep up with it.  It's an odd sensation.  And that's what I discovered last week.  The big sensation was not so much in the scenes I was describing.  It was how the story ended that I didn't see coming.  I never intended to write that ending.  It sneaked up on me.

But it was the right ending for the story. 

It's like writing fiction where your characters just go off the page and do their own thing and refuse to be brought back to where you want them.  All fiction authors I've talked to admit to this.  The first time it happened to me I thought I was going loony, so I asked someone.  She said, "Oh, yeah, my characters do all sorts of stuff they're not supposed to." 

Imagine that.

Those of you who read novels, know that some of the main characters you're reading about might have jumped off the page and wrote their own story.  Stephen King says he starts with a character and puts him or her in a particular place or situation and then watches to see what the character does.  And they surprise him lots of times.

Now you know.

Look for my latest post on Women's Memoirs this Thursday, "Your Life's Teachers."  And if you can, read the week before, "Writing Life's Sensations," and tell me what you think.

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