“Young Willie took off one day, never to be heard from again.” Great characters can be found at home


Young Willie wasn’t so young.  He was a 43 years old husband and father of six children who received an inheritance from his father and was able to purchase a farm of his own for the first time.  Three years later, he sold it back to the previous owner for the purchase price.  It was 1875 and I could find no evidence of him after that date.  He was my Great-Great Grandfather, son of a pioneering minister in Canada.

Young Willie is not part of the novel have started to finally plot out, but he is always in my mind, thumbing his nose at my endless questions.  Young Willie is only one character that I have found right in my own family history.  The wonderful thing is that I will be able to write a story for Young Willie, inventing his travels and his ending.  I can’t wait.

I have been reading US history books spanning the late 1800s to the 1930s.  The books have probably been too detailed for my purposes, but I want to know how people lived; the hardships, gender relations, familial structures, and ultimately what drove people to make drastic changes in their lives.  One of the common themes with my character is sudden, life-altering moments that propel them in unexpected directions, with long-term consequences. Continue reading

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I’ll Know Who I Am When I Get There


After high school I didn’t really have a concrete plan of what I wanted to do with my life and that didn’t bother me; I would figure it out as I went along.  I had a lot of interests; I studied journalism for a year, and then switched to computers which were just starting to change the world.

I continually committed myself to more than I could do, but I didn’t see the logic yet.  I always seemed to sign up for one class too many, then would get stressed about the workload.  Soon I was running to the Registrar’s office to drop a class.

Sweet relief, followed by an awful guilt.

I got a two year degree but knew I wanted more.  I studied graphic design while working at a job I stumbled onto.  I fell in love and quickly married.

It was like falling from the sky and landing on a big fluffy cloud—I was so happy.  I didn’t know myself and I was not even cognizant of it.  I moved along from one thing to the next thing that presented itself to me.  Looking back I realize that I have an impulsive nature, which caused me to make some poor choices.  It didn’t help that I was driven by anxiety—anything to make it stop.  My job was stressing me out, so I leaped to another, finding a peacefulness I never expected. Continue reading