Truthful Fiction
Contributor

I am often asked, “How do you come up with your stories? Is it hard to think of something to write about?” What most people don’t understand is that we are living a story everyday. Each month and year adds more chapters.

 

As with most writers I crave moments alone so I can write down my thoughts, or the notions from the characters that are dancing around in my head. However, spending time around others, listening and watching is where the guts of my stories come from. I am amazed how some people will just come right out and tell you their life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, while others will go to any length to hide their dark secrets under a basket.

 

Attending festivals I meet many people. Often by the end of the day I am hoarse from talking so much, and my ears are sometimes burning from all the chatter. Recently while out peddling my books a cute little girl of about two or three walked up to my table and stared longingly at my bowl of candy. She had the most innocent face I’ve ever seen. The couple she was with looked as if they might be her grandparents.

 

Striking up a conversation I found out that the lady was the little girl’s mommy, but really her grandmother. While the small child licked on a sucker and played with my Matty, the hand puppet mouse the grandmother in a hushed voice proceeded to tell me her story.  “I’ve had Ellie all her life. When she was three days old I went to the prison where my daughter had given birth, picked Ellie up, brought her home, and I’ve never looked back. I will take care of Ellie for as long as God will let me.”

 

Now keep in mind I am not asking this lady any questions, but she continues to tell me about Ellie’s prison mother. “My daughter is pulling twenty years and her husband is serving life for killing my second husband. One day they just walked right into my back yard and killed him.”

 

Again, I ask no questions, she continues. “I didn’t marry very well the first two times. My first husband was a mean drunk. Just like clockwork every three weeks he would beat the crap out of me. When I finally got out of that situation I went looking for love in the wrong places and landed me a drug addict the second time.”

 

She looks over at the man who is with her and says, “This is my third husband. I didn’t find him, God sent him to me. He doesn’t drink or do drugs.” I could tell the couple had been through a few years educating themselves at the school of hard knocks. The scars of their soul shone through their eyes. But, I could also feel a peace about them, and a love for little Ellie that ran very deep.

 

Stroking the little girls head the lady says, “ Ellie is my life now. She is so precious to me. A gift from God.” The lady squats down and looks in Ellie’s eyes and asks her, “Who loves you Ellie?”

 

Of course I thought Ellie would say, “You do Mommy.” But no, she answers, “Jesus loves me.” The woman looks up at me and says, “ We’re trying to raise her right. We take her to church and she loves it.”

 

Okay people if you can’t see a novel starting her then you don’t have a lot of imagination. The lady didn’t tell me how her second husband was killed, so I can fill in the blanks anyway I want to. It could have been something as simple as a gunshot to the head. Or, in a heated argument did the daughter’s husband wrestle the man to the ground while the daughter hacked away at him with the hedge clippers?

 

What provoked such a crime? A drug deal gone wrong, jealousy, fear, revenge, or an affair? The exciting part of writing fiction is that I can make anything happen that I want to. It is a wonderful feeling when you can convey the emotions of people and put it on paper for others to feel.

 

What a great lady this woman had evolved into. It takes a lot for a person to say, “Ellie is a precious gift from God.” Why, because that gift did not come without paying a price, the loss of her own daughter. Yes, I write fiction, but it is honed from real life experiences. Some stories are just too unbelievable to be made up.

 

Proverbs 3:3


 

 

 

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