This blog was featured on 04/10/2018
[Behind the Book] A Twist of Fate
Contributor
Written by
Cathy Zane
April 2018
Publishing
Contributor
Written by
Cathy Zane
April 2018
Publishing

Like many women, saying “yes” to my own wants and needs has been a lifelong challenge, one which led to putting my own desire to write on the back burner. The “no’s” came all too easily. Emotional, physical, and financial resources were needed elsewhere. I needed to focus on my husband, care for my children, support my friends, walk the dog, save for a rainy day. There was no time to write, let alone take care of myself.

I also had a fair amount of self-doubt, my own critical inner voice mirroring the beliefs of my academic and pragmatic family. Writing was a waste of time, not profitable, a feckless endeavor. As much as I would have loved to have studied literature and writing in college, I majored in nursing instead – a practical decision with reliable job prospects.

Fast forward many years, post-divorce, empty nest, and well into my second career as a psychotherapist -- and the urge to write returned with an idea for a story. But the uncertainty persisted and it wasn’t until I earned second place in a story completion contest that I was able to allow myself to give writing a try. I still had my day job, so I would steal a few minutes here and there in the evening or on weekends. I’d make some headway, but then the insecurity would return and I’d step away.

I finally decided to let it go. It wasn’t going to happen. It was a pipe dream. A silly fantasy. It was time to put it to rest and move on with life. But then an incredibly unlikely event happened; I ran into the person who had inspired the story I had been trying to write. This was someone I had known for only a short time, decades earlier, and now they were sitting in front of me at an event in a city far from where either of us lived. What were the chances?

The memories of being seen, valued, supported, and encouraged flooded back. It was the essence of the story I had been trying to write. The idea that even brief encounters or relationships can make a difference to us years later—the kind word of a stranger, the encouragement from a teacher, the attunement of a friend or lover. These things bring us back to ourselves. They serve as reminders of the hopes and dreams we’ve let life steal from us.

So I returned to my writing with a new determination, seeing this extraordinary meeting as a clear message to put my story down on paper. I continued to have doubts and interruptions over the months ahead, but this event would continue to serve as a touchstone, a reminder and motivation to persevere. I’m not sure I believe in “fate” or “destiny,” but I’m also not willing to see this event as simply “coincidence.” Some part of me, my creative self perhaps, was determined to propel me forward – to finally overcome the self-doubt and say “yes” to myself, my writing and this book.

 

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Comments
  • Betty Hafner

    Isn't it wonderful where and how inspiration shows up. Lovely story!