Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Everyone I Write About is at Least Partially Me

I published my first book, 100 Unfortunate Days, one month ago. 

The book was written from a dark place, the darkest corner we all find ourselves in sometimes and feel we can't get out of.  It is about a bad marriage, the sometimes awful experience of having children, and other areas that women sometimes don't discuss or admit.   It was written at a feverish pace, and though not about me exactly, much of the book contains my own experiences and feelings. Stephen King said that all of the characters he writes about are at least partially him.  We can't help it--everything we do and think and feel is from our personal perspective. 

Although the narrator of my book is unstable and more than a little crazy, I found writing in her voice to be better than years of therapy.  It made me think of the advice we so often hear in magazines or from friends when something or someone bothers us--write a letter you never plan to send.

Maybe we should write letters we DO plan on sending--not only to the person who has upset us--but to everyone else, too.  Write in your blog, or in a magazine.  We can get validation, or support, or maybe even a scolding if we deserve it--but at least the problem will no longer be only our own.  Write anonymously, or under a pen name.

Maybe if we stop trying to change ourselves we will be able to write more of the truth.




  1. Hi Penelope. Firstly, I love your name. It was the name I was going to give my daughter, and although I ended up calling her another name, I've often thought of using it for one of my characters. I loved Penny in Lost In Space.

    You have a great post here, and you're so right, most authors do add part of themselves to their characters. I know I do. There is a huge part of me in all of my characters. In fact one of my series is my mischievous antics as an accident prone seven-year-old. I turned my memories into a chapter book for reluctant readers. It was also my way of getting back at the horrid adults that caused my grief. Though I didn't have a mean aunt Mabel, or mean parents, I had a really cruel and mean teacher, who taught me nothing and was a bully. I think she's still alive though in a different country to me, but I would love her to read my books. LOL. Mind, she was so mental, that she would probably enjoy her it. Of course, I changed her name, plus the story is fictitious and I only used my experiences.

    It was great writing it though. Like you said, it feels better to write about it. It takes the burden away. Now, others can know about her and if any of my old pals from school read my books, they'll remember too what went on in our classroom. LOL.

    Thanks for a great post, Penelope. I enjoyed reading it. I hope you come back to my blog and follow me.

  2. Trish-
    It was great to get your comment. I think it's terrific that we can take our big and heavy memories and issues and break them up by giving a piece of them to other people. It helps so much when other people carry some of it all. :) I will surely visit your blog--in fact I'm heading over right now. I hope that mean teacher came to her senses!!

  3. I completely agree. Keep writing it out, as long as it needs to "fly," so to speak. ;)

  4. Red Tash-
    Exactly! Sometimes after I write I can even forgive someone faster, or someone I did not think I could at ALL before spilling it.


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