I’ve been editing a story I thought I would never write. For a long time I was never brave enough to tell that story. I made excuses about why it wasn’t important. It was too every day. It was too ordinary.
This is my thesis: Story springs from a well of Ordinary Love. For it is in our everyday ordinary that we find the pieces of our hearts.
In graduate school I learned that our every day normal is the tinder that sets a story ablaze.
There is something scary about the ordinariness of our past and our every day. Let me say that this fear stems from our desire to be loved. My stories are very personal. Unlike Dean Koontz and James Patterson I struggle to see writing as a business. I don’t disagree with these New York Times Bestselling icons. I just can’t follow in their footsteps. Some can certainly write fabulous fiction and not be phased by whether or not it sells. But generally speaking, I whole heartedly disagree with Maslow and his heirachy. I believe that people desire love over not their daily physical needs. I think love is the most important human need we have. And when we commit ourselves, no matter how ordinary it might be, to the page, we risk being shamed and shunned. Shame being the opposite to love.
And how frightening that is, when we as writers invest the whole of ourselves into our work. Indeed, we risk the very likely possibility of being shunned and shamed. Of being pushed away from community. Of being separated from love. And how awful would it be to hear that my very life was despicable. If that is the case, then we the confessor of our ordinary existence are consequentially despicable.
Yet, I believe that love is the greatest power in the world. I do. And I believe that love can overcome shame.
I write this to convince myself to be brave. I have written about what I know the very best, my life as an adopted child in Iowa. I did not know how painful it would be to go back to some of the memories in my childhood. But while I was there, steering my main character through familiar terrain, I felt and I found love.
I write this saying that while I have possibly written the most personal book of my life, fully understanding that it may not resonate with many.
Yet, I believe that the mortar holding the bricks in place, that keeps a reader spellbound to the page is Ordinary Love. Can I as a writer reach into myself and pull out the universal human trait that stirs within all? I don’t know. But I tell you that I am changed. Writing this book has changed me.
From now I desire to write every book from now on mining the dirty ordinariness of myself and sifting it through the strainer of love. I invite the reader to join me on this quest. I wonder what kinds stories we can create.