It’s funny to me that so many people want to claim their work as memoir when it’s really fiction, I guess because I’m the opposite. Does hiding behind the label of fiction make me a coward? (And is that any better or worse than being a liar?)
Rewatching Sailor Moon (thanks to May Ann!) reminds me of my childhood. Specifically, of my firm belief that I had super powers. Yes, on top of being a writer, I used to want to be a witch/superhero.
I also used to want to be a cow girl, a veterinarian, and a jewel thief. The illegal aspiration was inspired by Honest Illusions and further reinforced by To Catch a Thief (with the beautiful Grace Kelly, who was literally a princess!).
Last but not least, I planned to own a dude ranch in Colorado with my friend Amanda. We even looked up properties and planned out a (semi-realistic) budget!
While I’ve given up on the thieving and the dude ranch — although I did teach myself to pick a lock! — I confess there’s a small part of me that still hopes and dreams of the day I discover my special powers.
In the meantime, I’ll be writing books. ;)
Which childhood dreams have you held on to, and which have you let go of? What have you accomplished? What are your dreams and aspirations now?
At a time when I am desperately seeking guidance and inspiration, I look to those who came before me…
In a Guardian (UK) interview, writer Toni Morrison says:
“My books are always questions for me. What if? How does it feel to…? Or what would it look like if you took racism out? Or what does it look like if you have the perfect town, everything you ever wanted? And so you ask a question, put it in a time when it would be theatrical to ask, and find the people who can articulate it for you and try to make them interesting. The rest of it is all structure, how to put it together.”
Before that, she told Time magazine:
My 15-year-old daughter lives to write. What advice do you have for aspiring writers? —Darren Wethers, St. Louis, Mo.
The work is in the work itself. If she writes a lot, that’s good. If she revises a lot, that’s even better. She should not only write about what she knows but about what she doesn’t know. It extends the imagination.
This is, I think, the same thing Zadie Smith was getting at: it’s okay to write what you “don’t know.” Because you’ll learn it. Plus as writers, we should have strong enough imaginations to fill in the blanks. Isn’t that why a lot of us are in this in the first place? Imaginations that never rest.
Questions, speculation, imagination. Those are definitely the things that fuel my dream of writing for a living.
I also thought it was really interesting to read about Toni Morrison’s daily writing habits/routine. This site has a number of other famous people’s daily routines, not just writers.
In honor of my discussion about Ordinary vs. Extraordinary lives and people, I’m breaking tradition and posting photos that are not my own for this special Foto Friday. Please note, all of these photos are copyright of Shreve Stockton, and I am merely posting them here to promote her story and her work.
Though I don’t know her personally, my guess is that Shreve is an extraordinary person. Formerly a city girl, she grew tired of California and decided to ride a Vespa all the way to New York City, where she planned to move. Only, along the way she fell in love with the countryside, and after arriving in NYC she decided to relocate to Wyoming instead.
There, a 10 day old baby coyote was given to her after its parents were shot for killing sheep. Knowing that his survival depended on her, Shreve welcomed Charlie into her home, much to her cat Eli’s chagrin. But now they are a happy family, and have even added another pup into the mix.
Here, briefly, is their story in photos. To see or hear more about Shreve, Charlie, and the experiences they’ve shared over the years, please check out The Daily Coyote. Since discovering it, I’ve become smitten.
(Chloe looks rather like a certain puppy I know… ;P)
Again, all photos are copyright of Shreve Stockton, and I am merely posting them here to promote her extraordinary story.