The next few days were a blur. None of the pain medication I was so generously given brought any kind of lasting relief, although some of the stronger drugs did help me sleep fitfully through the night. Still, the moans and groans of pain kept not only myself awake, but my poor husband, as well. I finally decided to sleep in my chaise chair in the living room, so as not to keep him awake. After all, he was the main breadwinner and HAD to go to work every day. I was fortunate enough to be able to work from home, although I could only manage to work at my computer a few short hours at a time. Constant pain is a selfish companion, and DEMANDS your undivided attention!
As the days passed slowly and painfully by, other things were now happening - not only to my body, but to my mind, as well. Severe constipation from a steady intake of opioids combined with cold, damp rainy weather made the perfect storm for a case of mild depression to settle in. And although my husband was was being super supportive and even took over ALL of the cooking duties and some of the cleaning duties around the house, I was depressed that I couldn’t even so much as straighten my back, much less walk ten steps from the chair to the bed. My whole “normal routine” as I knew it was in a tailspin, and about as ABNORMAL as it gets. In short, I felt like I was a prisoner trapped in someone else’s body. I hopelessly wondered if I’d EVER walk again, and feared I may even end up crippled in a wheelchair and disabled for life. That thought TERRIFIED me, as I was used to being super active and always on the go. I took my dog on long walks around our small farm - sometimes even twice a day, worked in my small herb/flower garden out back, took care of all the housework, laundry and grocery shopping, and traveled long distance several days a month to visit clients. But suddenly, all that came to a screeching halt, and I was as clumsy and helpless as a newborn calf - wobbly legs and all!
As is my curious nature,I frantically began searching the internet for any and everything I could find on my condition, which I finally self-diagnosed as “sciatica”. It would later be determined medically that my diagnosis was correct, as I had ALL the classic symptoms. I poured over medical, holistic and self-help websites soaking in every tidbit of information I could find on the cause, treatment and ultimately cure for this savage affliction that had taken a young, healthy and active woman to down to her knees. All in one quickening breath!
As the meds kicked in and took a thin edge off my pain, I started trying to implement some of the other treatments I had found on the internet for sciatica. Most suggested light stretching, which was a challenge when you can’t even stand up straight! But I was determined to get better and was willing to do almost ANYTHING to get rid of the nagging pain that was literally a pain in the butt! So every morning, I’d drag myself to the kitchen, fix a cup of coffee (thank God for Keurigs!) grab a container of yogurt, and hobble back to my chair for a light breakfast After the caffeine from the coffee kicked in and I had something on my stomach, I took a pain pill and waited a little bit longer for that to ease the pain before doing my floor stretches. At first, I couldn’t hardly get down on the floor without writhing in pain, but I soon learned the more I did, the easier it got. I also learned it didn’t take ALOT of stretching - just the right kind. I firmly believe the exercises I started doing was instrumental in helping me regain not only some function in my now defunct body, but was a tremendous help in relieving some of the mental stress that comes with sciatic nerve pain.
Along with the stretching exercises, I started taking a Super Magnesium supplement and just recently added a combination glucosamine chondroitin, MSM and Vitamin D supplement, along with my daily multi-vitamin. I also tried some of the highly recommended holistic treatments such as turmeric, apple cider vinegar, and grape juice, but can’t say I noticed any distinguishing benefits from them, although I may not have used them consistently enough to reap their benefits. A kindhearted Facebook friend even sent me a jar of an all natural pain relief ointment a friend of his makes, but unfortunately, it didn’t give me the long lasting relief I was hoping for. Still, I believe that ALL these natural treatments working TOGETHER, along with daily stretching and a positive mental attitude, are what got me through each painful day.
"A Twinge Turned Terror" - Part 3 Coming Next!
If you've been following my blog, you've probably noticed there hasn't been much to "follow" lately. That's because for the past 2.5 months, I have been dealing with an extremely debilitating health issue: sciatic nerve pain. Anyone who has ever had this condition already knows how painful and life-altering it can be. But more than the physical limitations causes, it also challenges you mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. Sciatic nerve pain can come on suddenly and without warning, cause months of agonizing pain and then leave just as mysteriously as it came, leaving behind months and even years of physical AND emotional damage. Yet, the condition is so common that you'd be hard pressed to find someone who HASN'T struggled with it.
During my journey through sciatic nerve pain, I researched many websites in search of not only health information and answers to my own questions, but support from others who had been through the same thing. It was in my research that I found hundreds of sciatic nerve pains sufferers who were desperate for information, answers and emotional support -just like me. It was then that I decided to journal my experience and eventually share it with others who may be facing the same debilitating condition. It is my hope that through sharing my experience, it will help someone else who may also be looking for answers and support.
Over the next series of blogs, you will read my raw, unedited account of my journey through sciatic nerve pain. With the exception of the first one, the entries are not dated, yet chronicled by the passage of days or weeks. I have decided NOT to edit any of my journal in order to present my experience just as I was living it. If you have any questions about any part of my journal, please feel free to post comments or questions and I will be more than happy to answer as completely and honestly as I can.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or other health care provider, and the information presented in the following series of blogs is not intended to diagnose or treat sciatic nerve pain or any other health related health condition.
The first journal entry starts below...
A Twinge Turned to Terror- Part 1
March 19, 2018
It’s been one week ago today that a simple “twinge” in my back turned into a sharp, searing pain that literally knocked me to my knees and sent my body into a vicious cycle of tremendous physical, emotional and mental agony. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was suffering from a condition commonly known as sciatica nerve pain. But what I didn’t realize is how such a “common” condition, could turn my life upside down in just a matter of a few short hours and make everyday, ordinary tasks literally impossible to perform. For anyone who’s ever experienced sciatica, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t ever experienced it, I hope you NEVER do, as I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy!
I’m still not sure just WHEN it happened. Or even HOW. The last “normal” thing I remember doing is something I do every day - fixing my bed. But as I bent down to retrieve a pillow from the floor, I felt an innocent little “twinge” go up my spine. Nothing really “painful”, just noticeable. After about an hour, I noticed a little soreness in my lower back, so I took an Aleve, and went on about my normal routine the rest of the day,with no other real side effects. Until a few hours later. I had been sitting in my chair doing some jewelry crafting and went to get up. And THAT’S when it HIT me. The twinge that had spoke so softly earlier in the day was now growling like an angry bear through the tender nerves that ran from my lower back and down into my right leg. I hobbled to the living room where my husband was, barely able to straighten my now painfully crooked spine. Hunched over like a hundred year old woman, and moving at a snail’s pace, my lower back and leg seethed with more pain than I ever thought imaginable.
My husband helped me to the couch, then quickly brought me a couple of ibuprofen, which I was sure would ease the pain and give me lasting relief. But sciatica doesn’t work that way. It’s more like a rude, uninvited guest - eager to stay and in no hurry to leave! (In fact, my obnoxious guest has been here eight days already, and shows NO sign of going ANYWHERE!)
After a restless night, gingerly tossing and turning to find a comfortable sleeping position, I awoke the next morning expecting to be blessed with an “overnight miracle”, and have my “normal” body back. Instead, I was even WORSE off than the night before. The whole day I spent scrunched up in my chaise chair with my knees rammed into my chest. It was the only position that seemed to bring any short term relief. I continued to take ibuprofen throughout the day and napped when possible. Later than night, screaming and crying for ANY kind of relief from the unrelenting pain that was now ripping up and down my right leg, I begged my husband to call SOMEONE and get some stronger pain meds. Fortunately for me, but not for him, my father-in-law had been through the SAME misfortune a year earlier, but was unable to take the strong medication the doctor had prescribed for him, and was glad to send them my way. Likewise, my Mom who was afflicted with muscle spasms a few months earlier, also had meds she thought might help. Finally armed with some potent weapons to counter-attack my ruthless attacker, I looked forward to a less painful and more restful evening - SURE relief would now come quickly. Only I was painfully WRONG - AGAIN! Part 2 coming soon....
So I just released by third self-published Christian romance fiction novel, Heart in a Bottle, currently available in paper back and e-book version on Amazon.com. For many reasons,I really didn't want to offer my newest release through Amazon, but being a self-published author, it just seemed like a natural progression. And despite its faults, Amazon has a revolutionary platform that makes it almost effortless for Indie authors to create, publish and sell their own books to more readers than ever before. More on that in a future blog!
For now though, and just in time for Valentine's Day, I'd like to introduce you my newest Bohemian Christian romance novel -
"Heart in a Bottle"
Front and back covers - designed exclusively by "yours truly"!
Heart in a Bottle,like my first two offerings,is another Bohemian Christian romance novel,but with a murder-mystery twist to it.Honestly,of all three books I've written,this was definitely the HARDEST to write,and I probably won't delve into another one like it for a LONG time!In short,I've learned that I'm NOT a mystery or crime writer,nor do I enjoy the tedious job of researching every little detail to make sure all the facts "add up",and the story line makes sense.With straight romance stories,it doesn't matter so much,as we all know that most of the time,love doesn't always "make sense" anyway! lol
So,without further adieu,or giving away the ending,here's a brief synopsis of Heart in a Bottle:
Middle-aged advertising exec Valli Heart was suddenly left to run her father's paltry wine company after he succumbed to a massive heart attack. I chose the name "Valli" for my main character,as it was the name my maternal grandmother had given her first child - a baby girl.Unfortunately,the baby died shortly after she was born.When my mother told me what she had named it,the name stuck, and I always wanted to use it in one of my books.Other characters in Heart in a Bottle are named after good friends and other family members, as well, as a means of including those special people in my writings.(I just have to be careful to make sure the character's personality is complimentary to the person who's name I'm using!It makes for much more pleasant family gatherings during the holiday!lol)
Valli is also constantly fighting past demons,which only add to her current troubles and cause her to doubt her faith in God, as well as the man she really loves.Nevertheless, with the help of her worldly and quite egotistical business partner,Jack Conova,Valli is left to carry on the family business,Heart Winery - a small coastal winery,and fulfill her father's dreams of turning it into a wine "mega-tropolis".Yeah,I made that word up,(along with a few others!)and spell check reminded me of it every time I proofed the story!But that's one thing I LOVE about being a fiction writer - I take FULL advantage of my "creative license" to make up ANY word or story line I want!
Anyway,unbeknownst to Valli,Jack is in cahoots with Valli's secret lover to take her down,and take OVER her father's business!OR, is it the other way around? Mmmm... mystery #1!Then,just when Valli is not sure she can keep up the charade she's been living for so long,a sudden "who-done-it" MURDER throws a deadly twist to the story! Mystery #2!Now its up to Valli and her secret lover to not only solve the murder,but uncover the whereabouts of a hidden formula for a valuable wine blend that could be the future of Heart Winery - or its DEMISE!
Love,murder,mystery,dark secrets,with a bit of sound Biblical doctrine added in - what MORE could you want in a spell-binding romance novel? I promise,Heart in a Bottle,has it ALL!(One piece of advice when reading this book - read it like you were watching an episode of your FAVORITE TV crime drama to get the FULL effect!And don't be surprised if the murderer is NOT who you thought it would be!)
Despite the rigorous challenge this book presented to a somewhat amateur murder-mystery novelist, I am very pleased with the final outcome!I sincerely hope my readers will enjoy the story,as they immerse themselves in the romance, mystery and Biblical inspiration of Heart in a Bottle!
If you've read to the end of this blog entry, CONGRATULATIONS - you're eligible for a
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Your support keeps me inspired to keep writing for YOU!
Like a lot of young girls growing up, I once kept a diary, similar to the one shown in the picture to the right. The small, royal blue imitation leather book with gold trimmed pages had a silver plated lock on the side, and came with a matching tiny silver key so I could "lock up" my deepest thoughts and most private secrets inside. It was my "BFF" (best friend forever), my confidant, and the only other one (besides God) who knew my innermost feelings. My diary was MORE than just a book of a young girl's daily musings - it was my LIFE; an innocent rumination of mixed up, naive and confused teenage thoughts bled deep into it's narrow lined pages. Whenever I felt the need to purge my heart and soul of weighty teenage matters, or just gush about my most recent teenage crush, I would huddle in my tiny bedroom closet, and with just enough light trickling in from the nearby window or nightstand lamp, I would sit all alone - sometimes for hours - and pour out my innermost thoughts and feelings into the empty pages of that little blue book. It was an almost daily ritual, and a habit that no doubt started my love of writing.
I hid my little blue diary in my bedroom closet, stuffed deep down inside a cardboard box of teenage odds and ends.I hid the tiny matching key in a ballerina jewelry box I kept on my dresser. From time to time, I'd have to change my hiding place, lest my two nosy, and often mischievous brothers would find it and threaten to divulge my most private thoughts to the outside world. Any girl with brothers knew it was a very REAL threat, and if carried out, would have been a mortifying teenage nightmare! In fact, I do remember a time or two my older brother got hold of it and waved it high in the air, taunting, teasing and threatening me that he was going to reveal its contents, only to be told by my mother to give it back to me AT ONCE! Being a woman, as well as a prolific writer and journal keeper herself, she knew how sacred those private teenage thoughts were. In fact, for centuries women and men alike have utilized journaling as a therapeutic way of coping with life.(See Wiki article here) Good, bad or ugly, diaries and journals are our "confessions of the soul", not to mention WAY cheaper than hours of private therapy! And just like a good therapy session, I always felt "cleansed" after a lengthy diary entry, and oftentimes emotionally drained from the release of such intense thoughts I had kept bottled up inside for so long.
Once I became an adult,I traded in my girly diary for a couple of spiral composition books,and continued to record my life's private thoughts and events.For me, journaling was a way of life, and many times, the much needed therapy needed to cope with life's more complex adult struggles. Whether I was writing a personal love letter to my "secret crush", or penning soulful prayers to God, a pen and composition book were never too far away. In fact, I still have one or two of those composition books stored away and take them out from time to time to "reminisce" about days gone by. They still have somewhat of a "therapeutic" effect when I go back and read those scrambled up thoughts, and realize how much I've grown since then as a person, a woman and a writer!
Unfortunately, my little blue imitation leather diary has long since disappeared, and I can’t for the life of me seem to remember what happened to it. I asked my mother about it recently, and she doesn’t have any recollection of seeing it around the house I grew up in, and where she and my father still reside. Nor have I been able to find it searching through stored boxes of belongings in my own home. I can only guess I destroyed it in one of my periodic “burning rituals”, after I became an adult. You know – those melancholy times when you have a few too many glasses of wine, get all wistful and throw old love letters into a late midnite fire. Or when you chunk cardboard boxes of identifying documents like tax forms, bills, receipts or bank account information into a roaring fall bonfire! I don't know, perhaps my little blue diary met its misfortune in the same charred way, along with some other forgotten pieces of my past. But it sure would be fun to find it again, and relive those priceless moments preserved in time so long ago!
Nowadays, journaling has become better known as “blogging”. That’s a funny word – “blog”. It’s actually short for “web log” and became popular in the early 2000’s. Simply put, a blog is a website of targeted journaling that addresses a specific topic like cooking or crafting. Blogs are usually written in a chronological form, so you see the most recent blog first, with former blogs being archived. Today, there are millions of blog sites with new ones popping up every day. Blogs can be either strictly a blog site, or a combination website/blog, like this one. But most all of them have one thing in common – to share information on a specific topic and attract an audience of like-minded individuals to engage with.
Some bloggers (those who write blogs) go a step further and “monetize” their blogs by adding other company’s links or banners, in hopes of getting paid a nominal commission should their blog visitor click on a link and/or make a purchase from that advertiser. Blogging for money is very popular but can also take a long time to become lucrative. There are literally thousands of blogs dedicated to this very subject, and I have no doubt there are some out there who are very successful at making a decent living from a monetized blog site. I tried it once myself, but soon became very frustrated in the amount of time and effort it took to find credible links and advertise my blog to the right market, only to see very little activity. Truth is, I didn’t have the time to devote to a monetized blog and found it more of a chore than an enjoyment. I am already self-employed and have a successful website design business. I would rather focus my “monetizing efforts” on that for the time being. That’s why I choose to write “for fun”. It puts ME in control of what, when, where and to whom I want to write to, and is more like the relaxing art of journaling I used to do as a young girl.
Still, I do embrace this modern form of journaling, now referred to as “blogging” and use it pretty much the same way I did when I wrote in my diary as a young girl. Only now, I’m typing effortlessly on a laptop instead of scribbling entries by hand with a pen or pencil. And instead of hiding away in my bedroom closet, I’m able to relax in my favorite chaise lounge on a quiet Sunday morning, and reflect my deepest thoughts back onto an empty computer screen. Plus, I have all the modern features of a computer like auto correct, spell check and copy/paste to help me format my blog entries better than I could with just pen and paper, as well as endless resources like online dictionaries, stock images and informational websites upon which to find credible facts and statistics to substantiate my words.
There’s just one big difference now….
When I used to journal as a young girl, and later as a young woman, my journal entries were much more personal, and NEVER shared with anyone else. NEVER. Not even my best friend. Those private written thoughts came from the deepest depths of my heart and soul, and God was the only other one who knew them. My diary was my hidden treasure chest, filled with all my heart’s secret thoughts, wishes and desires. Unlike modern day blogs, I would have NEVER dreamed of sharing that treasure chest with anyone else, much less try to “sell it” to make to money. It may have been crudely written and grammatically raw around the edges, but that didn't matter. It was for MY eyes only, and its contents were priceless and invaluable. Now, however, I can either choose to share my blog entries through my "Bohemian Typewriter" with an interested audience, or I can keep my innermost thoughts safely protected in my laptop, using its protective "password" feature. Or simply "delete" any entry I don't wish to save or share. And while that's a nice convenience, I kind of miss those fiery rituals where I could incinerate those old composition books full of weighty words that had once lived inside my soul. I mean,its not like I can chunk my laptop into a blazing fire, although at times I feel like it! LOL!
Even though the old, traditional diaries are seldom used anymore, I would recommend that everyone keep some type of journal, whether its through blogging or just scribbling random words in a plain notebook. After all, its what you keep locked up INSIDE that can cause so much mental, emotional and physical stress and pain. Studies have even shown that people who journal have less emotional stress and are more "in touch" with their true feelings than those who keep things bottled up inside. Of course, you can always talk to a therapist, but journaling is SO much cheaper! Just make sure you keep a "lock" on it so it doesn't accidentally fall in the wrong hands! ;)
I'm not a winter person. NOT AT ALL. In fact, I was born in Spring (April), and really didn't want to come out then! I'm pretty sure my Mother pushed me on out a little early because she was tired of tripping over her grotesquely swollen "cankles". Can't say I really blame her, though. And while I love all the subtle nuances of Spring, my heart beats just a little faster the closer it gets to Summer! Yep, I'm a Summer girl. A bonafide ""toes in the sand, sun in my face, beach-loving,sit-outside-on-the-deck-watching-fireflies" kind of summer gal! But, alas, this blog entry is not about Summer....
I know, I know - it's still WINTER. Don't remind me. And I've got what is commonly known as the "winter blues". Happens every year, starting right after the New Year, when all the gaiety of the holidays is past, and the first big January chill sets in. Sometimes I seriously think I have S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder), maybe to a lesser degree, but I still get in a seasonal "funk" around this same time EVERY SINGLE YEAR!
I took the picture below today while hubby and were at the beach on a short overnight getaway. This is MY kind of "winter blues"! Even at 50 degrees, I'd STILL rather be on the beach in the winter....<3
As I said, I'm NOT a winter person. Not even when it snows. Everyone's jumping up and down going, "Oh, look - it's snowing! Let's go sledding, skiing, build a snowman, have a snowball fight...", and I'm hunkered down inside, wearing three layers of clothing, thermal socks, and hugging a pot of hot coffee, saying, "Honey, can you turn the heat up a little more!" lol
Oh, don't get me wrong - I LOVE to watch a pretty snowfall as much as the next girl - but from a window INSIDE, please. And make sure it's GONE by the next day, if you don't mind! lol Yeah, one snowfall and that's IT for winter, okay? Let's not drag this out too long!
I mean, I'm an OUTSIDE girl most of the year. Gardening, going to the beach, cook outs with friends and family...being stuck inside (unless its over 95 degrees)all day is NOT gonna happen with THIS summer-loving lady! NO WAY! Summer is short enough as it is (at least it SEEMS that way to me); I'm NOT going to waste a minute of it sitting down at my bohemian typewriter, sweating out sticky romance novels -or anything else for that matter! Oh, I've TRIED writing OUTSIDE on nice summer days. NOT a good idea. Between the blinding glare of the sun, the blood-sucking mosquitoes, and the incessant buzz of the hubby cutting our five acre backyard, it's not exactly the most PEACEFUL writing atmosphere for a writer! Besides, I'd much rather be planting herbs and veggies in my backyard garden or working on my Tahitian tan down at the beach. You know, all those things you CAN'T do in winter!
But when I started writing books, I realized that I had MORE time to write in the winter because I didn't go outside as much as I did in the Spring and Summer. I could put on my over-sized flannel owl-printed PJ's, a baggy sweatshirt, my thermal socks, pour myself a mug of steaming cappuccino from my Keurig, sit back in my chaise lounge and wait for the frozen words of winter to thaw into the riveting pages of a hot, steamy romance novel! The words just seem to pour more deeply and effortlessly in the dead of winter - especially when I'm home alone and the house is empty and quiet. No outside distractions - no noisy lawnmower circling round and round, no pesky insects to swat, no itchy sweat running down my back; just lounging comfortably with the heat pump gently whirring in the background, the hypnotic clicking of my fingers hitting the keys on my laptop, and my hidden thoughts coming to life on the screen before me!
Writing in winter thaws my soul like a warm, aged brandy and keeps my mind from "freezing up" with the icy thoughts of the long winter ahead. For me, it's the perfect antidote for S.A.D.! And like a beautiful butterfly encapsulated in a protective cocoon that bursts forth into new life, so will my next beautiful love story bloom with the gentle warmth of the coming Spring!
How about you? If you're a writer, what's YOUR favorite time of the year to write, and why? If you're a reader, do you read more in the summer or winter? Personally, I prefer reading for relaxation in the summer months while at the beach or on vacation. But there's also alot to be said for cuddling up by a cozy fire in the winter with a good tear-jerking love story and shutting out the rest of the cold world.
Unfortunately, very few of us have the luxury of writing OR reading WHEN we really WANT to, due to "adulting" and fulfilling other "life obligations." Speaking of which, hubby will soon be home and I need to get dinner going!
Stay warm, my fellow winter writers - and readers; Spring is peeking out behind the icicles and blowing warm kisses! Embrace the time you have now....
I was pondering my next novel today and a sketchy story line started forming in my mind. As I pondered the outline of the story, I realized that in order to form the plot, I had to ask questions. Questions about the characters. Questions about their personalities. Questions about their relationship to other characters. Questions that uncovered OTHER characters and other stories. Stories about stories. That's when it hit me that "every story has a story". Think about it. Your life is a story. But it didn't START with you. It started with your parents. They had a story that "begat" you. Likewise, THEIR story had a story that started with THEIR parents. And so on and so on...
"every story has a story"
It's like a perpetual door that keeps opening up another door to another story. And therein lies the mystery in reading a fiction novel. You're only TOLD the story the author wants you to know. For example, the main character may be a single mother of two kids, but the writer may not have told you what happened to her children's father. That is ANOTHER part of her STORY. It may not matter in regards to the story line the author wrote, but to the reader, it opens up a DOOR to another STORY. A story of her past. A question that the author left open-ended for the reader to wonder about. A mystery that may or may NOT ever be solved.
It also works the other way. A story can have a unknown PAST story OR an unknown FUTURE story. Say you get to the END of a novel and the characters "lived happily ever after". But did they REALLY? Who's to say they didn't get tired of each other after five years, got a quickie divorce and went their separate ways? Or maybe they fell on hard times and ended up on the streets. Or were diagnosed with an incurable disease. What's their "story after the story?" There again, the reader is left with unanswered questions and endless possibilities. Most readers don't mind, and are content with the "happily ever after" conclusion. But for others, there's always that nagging "cliffhanger" that leaves them hungering for more story. The story AFTER the story.
Every story has a story. I guess that's why soap operas have always been so popular. They realize that every story has a story, and that the story doesn't end. Ever. Flashbacks answer questions about PAST stories, and new episodes answer questions about FUTURE stories. It's the "hook" that keeps viewers coming back every day, even though they KNOW the story doesn't end then, either. And why mini-series and reality shows are so popular. The viewer is left hopelessly hanging from one story to the next. Addicted to the story. Oblivious to the fact that it will NEVER end. Even when a new season starts, the old story STILL goes on.
As a writer, I get to create stories. I literally "breathe life" into imaginary characters and give them ANY kind of life I want! Because I am writing THEIR story. Past, present and future. It's an incredibly POWERFUL gift. And a daunting task. Because I'm not only creating a character - I'm creating their STORY. The pertinent information I give about a character will determine how the reader interprets that person's personality, character and their role all the way throughout the book. And their story. But interpretation is a mystery in itself. Because not everyone asks the same questions. Therefore, not everyone gets the same answers, or comes to the same conclusions. So, as a writer, while I may or may not give certain information about a character, my readers will ultimately "fill in the blanks" to the missing parts themselves, and come to their OWN conclusions about the characters "story". And if you think about it, that makes my readers sort of like "co-authors". Ghost writers, if you will! They are "writing the story behind the story."
Even in real life, everyone has a story behind the story. Everything you are, everything you've done, everywhere you've been all started with a story, that had another story before that. And no matter WHERE you are in your life right now, your story doesn't end there. Even if you die. Your story will live on. Because a part of you is left SOMEWHERE in this world that will perpetrate your story to infinity in some way or another. Your story has a story. A NEVER ENDING story!
I'm going to end this blog entry with a true story about a young Australian woman who recently died of cancer at the very young age of 27 years old. Just days before she died, she penned a very simple and beautiful letter about "the meaning of life", and her very meek and humble advice on how to live life to its fullest. (Click here to read her last (but not final) story.) She shared her letter on Facebook, which is where I first saw it. I almost didn't click on it, but something urged me to read it anyway. I'm so glad I did.
While not the most eloquently or grammatically correct written letter, it was beautifully pure and honest. This young dying girl telling the living world about the "meaning of life", and "a bit of life advice". The irony of her words were so deeply thought provoking, that everything else around me faded into gray into the background for that few minutes I was reading. And even as I drove to a meeting afterwards, I still couldn't help but think about this young woman that I didn't know from Adam, but yet who had touched me so profoundly with her simple words. Her last story. But not her final one. Thanks to her simply penned words (and the internet), her story will go on and on - each time her letter is seen and shared. At only 27 years old, she will probably have made MORE of a lasting impact on this world than most people will in a lifetime. But not because she died such a young and tragic death; but because she chose to write the story AFTER the story. A story that could be remembered forever. A story with a story - both past and future.
Every story has a story. As it is in writing - and in life...
So its another New Year. I feel blessed. Blessed to still be here, above all. Blessed that my family members are still here. Blessed that 2017 wasn't really all that bad. In retrospect, I would even say it was a GOOD YEAR. Yes, there were problems. Ups and downs. Losses. Struggles. But then again there was growth. Positive changes. Poignant realizations. Assertions - ah, yes, assertions. When undefeatable boldness surfaces to the top and you feel like NOTHING or NO ONE can stop you from reaching your goal. When you stand firm in your resolve because you KNOW that God is on your side, and even your enemies can't bring you down! Assertions that carry you through the hard times, like a warrior.
I guess assertions are like resolutions. Only stronger. Resolutions are more like "suggestions". Most people make them with no more a thought than when they brush their teeth. Oh, it's New Years - guess I need to make s resolution or two. You know - just to look good. Yea, so, I'll drop five pounds by Spring. Maybe even join a gym, for good measure. And yeah, I guess I could give up Facebook for a month or so - but you can still reach me on Twitter or Instagram. Eat healthier? Sure. I'll just order a salad with my cheeseburger, instead of fries. Oh wait, let's start that NEXT week... You get the picture. Assertions are different. Note this definition I found online:
"the action of stating something or exercising authority