Happy Memorial Day! Oftentimes, this seems like National BBQ and Beer-Drinking Day (Which, actually, sounds like a very worthy holiday in its own right).
But, as much as I love grilled chicken and cole slaw, I do always find myself thinking of the people I've lost. At twenty-five, I've already seen more than one friend die too young. But the greatest personal loss for me has been my father, who died when I was seventeen.
The interesting thing is how much that loss has affected my writing. I haven't written a story since that included two parents. My novel, SHARDS, is based on my memories of losing Dad in high school (with extended what-if scenarios, of course, but some scenes are purely mine in the midst of the fiction). The independent reader book I wrote before was about a girl who has lost her mother to cancer.
The day that my father died, I was getting ready to go to the hospital. It was spring, and the lilac bushes in our backyard were fragrant, the scent drifting into the house on a soft breeze as I washed dishes at the sink. I heard the front door open and I knew. I walked slowly into the living room with the dish towel in my hand. My mother was in the doorway with her arms full of flowers carried home from the hospital.
And one way or another, I've been writing about that day for the last eight years. I guess we write what we know. But I worry that there's only so much I should write about grief, that I should try to branch out and talk about college, travel, marriage. I have such a wonderful life. Why do I always find this one subject slipping into my work?
6 hours ago