"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery." - Jane Austen
A heavy fog infiltrated my creative mindset ten days ago. I became discouraged and frustrated. But I was not alone, others felt it too. On Saturday, I followed a hash tag (#writers) on Twitter and found a steady stream of negativity:
- 20 warning signs your content sucks (my favorite)
- 5 biggest mistakes writers make
- How not to write a novel
Their doom-y nature played perfectly with my mood. I laid down my pen (well ok, I turned off my monitor) and decided to halt all writing until I could move more positively toward my end goal.
My book, In Wake of a Following, involves two families: The Swans and the Van Hoofs. While it is mainly about my family, there wouldn’t be a story without the Van Hoofs. Over the years, I have slowly, tentatively, reached out to surviving family members. My letters and phone calls have gone unanswered… until last night when I received an email from one of Mary Ann’s (the seer's) children.
Let me explain. You’ve heard of the Hatfields and the McCoys, right? Google “famous family feuds” and these two surnames will generate thousands of hits. In Romeo and Juliette, you learned about the fictionalized rift between the Motagues and the Capulets. Well, in our story, the opposing families were the Swans and the Van Hoofs – with one large caveat: we didn’t tote knives, rifles or the like, and we didn’t rumble in the streets. Our clash was more emotionally complex; we dealt with parental abandonment (both physically and mentally) and a division of spiritual beliefs.
Our families collided in the early 1950s, and we would be forever torn. Devastated by parental choices, the children would be hurt the most. Many of them had formed friendships prior to the proposed holy apparitions.
We are now three generations into the future. Isn’t it time to heal? The brave family member who wrote to me explained it had taken several attempts. They weren’t sure what to say or how to help, but they felt that my “story on the power of belief really fit well with the many strange things that happened in Necedah, especially during those early years.”
The fog has lifted. And I have writing to do!
Thank you for having the courage to reach out.