Elizabeth: Reality Check

Instant happy @ $1 a bunch © Eldridge Photography

Instant happy @ $1 a bunch
© Eldridge Photography

The past several weeks were unexpectedly challenging. I had a health scare – not to worry, all is fine now – that resulted in 19 days of worry as I waited for the results of a biopsy, had some additional tests done, and then waited again for the results of a second biopsy when the first proved inconclusive.

The whole process provided a bit of a reality check and underscored the fact that, although it may seem like there is plenty of time to do things “eventually,” it’s possible that there isn’t.

“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”   ~ George Harrison

So these past few weeks I’ve focused a little more on “want to” instead of “should.”   I talked to my brothers and sister-in-law on the phone. A lot. I baked some delicious things – and ate them. 🙂  I found a bag full of fabric squares my mom had collected over the years (intending to do who-knows-what with) and turned some of them into a quilt (you can see part of it behind the vase of daffodils), while watching episodes of Inspector Morse and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I dropped the core workout class at my gym that I didn’t enjoy at all and switched to “Yoga with Heather,” as I mentioned last week, deciding that that meditation and flexibility are better for my long-term mental/physical health than continuing to push myself through a loud sweaty class that dislike.

“Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” ~ Wayne Dyer

So, what does this have to do with writing?

More and more I find that no experience is really wasted when it comes to writing. Although my current WIP doesn’t feature testing or disease or even a contemporary setting, you never know when a story might call for a doctor’s visit or a health scare. Thanks to the events of the past couple of weeks and the writing I did to keep myself distracted, I have some scenes ready and waiting should the need arise.

In my current story, my hero Michael has spent the last several years in the army, battling Napoleon and his forces, and knowing that there was a very real chance he wouldn’t make it home alive. It undoubtedly coloured the choices he made then and probably continues to impact his actions and reactions. I hadn’t really considered that when developing his character, but now I have a better idea of how to go back and give him additional depth. As a plus, I also have an explanation for why he made a risky choice during Waterloo that hadn’t made sense before. Progress.

So, has your day-to-day life given you story fodder or provided insights to your own characters?

6 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Reality Check

  1. So, so glad to hear that all is well! It’s easy to think that our time here is unlimited — I’m guilty of it every day. Glad you found some good things to do.

    Terry Pratchett was always very good at turning everyday stuff into legendary myth. Reading about his Mended Drum always made me feel like I’d visited a very homey, lovely sort of pub. (With quaffing and violence, yes, but also all the good pub things that one may love.)

    I had high hopes of our very snowy snow days turning into a wonderful raging blizzard in my book, but it hasn’t worked out that way yet. Yet. Maybe it will.

    )-: Maybe we’ll have more snow, and I’ll get yet another chance for a Very Snowy Week.

    • Michaeline – well, who doesn’t want to visit a pub with a little quaffing and violence 🙂 Hopefully your snow days will turn into something great for your book. I like the thought of the Very Snowy Week (from a distance, of course).

  2. Very glad to hear that your scare was just that and nothing worse, and thank you for the reminder to do it now. Your timing is perfect. I needed a nudge.

    I get lots of story fodder from my daily life and just chatting to people. My last hero Ian’s London penthouse is based on an empty building I used to overlook when I had an office in Marylebone. It was a gorgeous lateral space (very rare in central London) with big windows and great light, and most days I used to stare at it and think what a great apartment it would make. I doubt it has permission for residential occupancy, but when I needed a grand London flat for Ian, I didn’t let that stop me 😉 .

    • Jilly, great that you were able to incorporate the empty building into your story. Just goes to show that you never know when something you see or hear will be of use at a future date.

  3. I glad to hear you’re well, Elizabeth, and I’m sending positive thoughts your way for continued good health!

    Congrats on figuring out that important piece of the puzzle regarding Michael’s past. Inspiration sometimes comes to us in mysterious ways.

    • Thanks for the positive thoughts Nancy and yes, inspiration does sometimes come in mysterious ways. The trick is to write it all down before it disappears the way it came.

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