Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

The seeds of story are often deeply personal.

Today I’m sitting at home with a neck brace on and not enjoying the degenerative disc disease in my neck. For one thing it makes it difficult to type. Oh well, we all have issues.
Anyway….in working on my novel, sometimes I lose my muse, my passion for the story, my oomph to get to the finish line, because, let’s face it; editing is not fun nor is it creative. Frankly, it sucks!
Remembering and understanding why we write is so important when trying to hold fast to a theme that resonates within us and throughout our story.  When I get caught up in the plot, I sometimes forget why I’m writing in the first place. I need to reconnect. It’s healing, and helpful.

So I’m looking forward to getting my muse back on track this weekend when I go to the Oregon Coast. First and foremost I’m meeting up with my brothers and we’re going to visit our father’s grave. We all miss him desperately. He died so young, age 54. There lie the reasons for my novel’s story which are deeply personal and often painful.

My story, Far From The Moon has everything to do with my father, his service in the Korean War, and his love for the Oregon Coast.  The coast was our happy place. Dad was his happiest when there. It was our escape from the chaos and madness of our life in the city. We were liberated there. To this day I can climb Neahkahnie Mountain, hike its lush trails, hide out in the windswept pines of its cliffs and be free. As children that freedom came at great cost. As an adult, I try to not remember the cost, only the ocean breeze in my hair, the smell of lavender, my father signing Dean Martin songs by the camp fire, his coffee percolating on the Coleman stove, the pigeons scavenging for food in the distance, the smell of salt air, the promise of sand dollars along the sea shore, a day of adventuring and being alone with nature.    
You see my father was not the camp fire whistling, Dean Martin singing guy we knew on the coast, when we were in the city. In the city he was different man all together. Tortured, mean, drunk and still fighting a war we knew nothing about except that we, too, were its victims.           Dad was two men. When I’m at the coast I recall the man I loved with all my heart and soul – the man who, because of his two selves, is the source, the seed, the nexus of most of my writing. I think we write to understand. I may never understand the two wolves that fought for existence beneath my father’s scared skin, the war that haunted him or the anger he felt when the noise of his life grew too loud. But I will always understand his love of the Oregon Coast. His true spirit was always there, so there – instead of the family plot – is where we buried him a few years back. As the oldest child it was my decision. I chose to honor the place where he was at peace.  

When I return to my father’s resting place I’ll cry, tend his modest grave, ache from grief (as I still do when I visit his grave), then walk his beach, climb his mountain and hike his trails. I’ll hear him singing in the winds and remember why I started my novel in the first place; to heal. I’ll reconnect with my muse and be propelled forward through my edits. This much I know.

One comment on “The seeds of story are often deeply personal.

  1. Dorothy
    June 24, 2011

    Great post Mindy and one I could really relate to. Working on edits and rewrites I too have to keep coming back to why I started writing the novel I am working on. It spins away from me and before I know it I'm just following the characters around and not sure where I'm going or why. I don't know if that makes sense.Have you seen the Clint Eastwood movie Grand Torino? Very moving portrayal of a Korean war vet.

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