When Steena asked me to guest post on her blog, initially I was super excited. She asked me to write a raw and honest piece about why I wrote my latest novel, Drawing Free. I was enthusiastic about the idea, because the story is one that’s near to my heart, but the more I thought about blogging about it, the more I froze up. Admittedly, Steena asked me weeks ago to do this. I have a million excuses about why I didn’t do it, but…the truth is, I was scared.
(Sidenote from Steena: Do you remember my post about When A Mother Runs Away? It was because of this story!)
BUT, scared or not, here I go. This is why I wrote Drawing Free.
I have a ‘passionate child’. Some would call her ‘spirited’ or ‘difficult’ or any host of other names. But really, she’s just passionate, about EVERYTHING. She always has been. While her twin brother is quite content to follow the rules, do what’s expected, question our authority in a calm, rational manner, she…does not. Over the years this has made may life both challenging and rewarding in equal measures. Although some days admittedly, the scales feel VERY tipped.
Here comes the truth part.
There have been days, when, like Becca, I’ve been on my way home from the store, or some other mini escape that I’d plotted, and thought, “What if I just kept driving?”
Some days, it can all seem like too much. When the challenges of raising children, trying to build a career, be a good wife and friend, and still carve out a little time for your own sanity, just gets to be more than you can take at that exact moment.
I’ve had those moments. I think it’s a rare mother who can say she has never had one. Whether or not she’ll admit to it…well, that’s a different story.
Women are kind of funny that way. We tend to stuff our feelings instead of talking about them. Maybe we think others will judge us if we admit we’re not happy with our lives ALL of the time. Maybe we’re afraid our friends, or other women at the playground will look down on us, or, gasp, judge us and think that we’re a bad mom? Whatever it is, it’s crazy.
It’s normal to have feelings. It’s normal to question yourself. You know what’s not normal? It’s not normal to walk around thinking everything is perfect ALL the time or try to pretend it is.
Sometimes you’re tired. Sometimes your kids have had a crazy tantrum and your head is bursting. Sometimes everybody wants a piece of you, and you just feel like you have nothing left to give. Sometimes…you might think, “What if?”
That’s what Becca did. Becca is fictional. Most of us would never actually get in the car and drive away from our family. Most of us would never make a lot of the choices Becca made. BUT…we might think about them. And that is why I wrote about her.
It was important to me to explore the other side. To acknowledge those feelings and go with them.
Would I ever leave my family like Becca did? Nope. But I’ll admit that as much as I love my husband and children, it’s not always roses and sunshine. Sometimes, it sucks. And it’s okay to say that.
Becca and her story have generated some very strong reactions so far. Many readers can relate to her. Even if they wouldn’t do what she did or make the decisions she did, they can relate to the feelings she had and what drove her to that dark place. Others, hate her. Becca just (pardon my language) pisses some people off. There could be a million reasons for that. But I think it’s because Becca hits a little too close to home for some. It’s a little too close for comfort for the women who don’t want to admit that maybe they’ve had less than perfect feelings too.
Writing Drawing Free was a labor of love for me. It took many years of revisions and total rewrites, but I couldn’t give it up. As much as I wanted to sometimes, I could not walk away from it. So the simple answer to Steena’s question. Why did I write Drawing Free?
I wrote Drawing Free, because I had to.
A little bit about Elena Aitken (other than the fact that she lives about 20 min away from me yet we’ve never met for coffee or cheesecake – not like I’m upset or anything, and that she’s about to go on a holiday to a place with a hot sun, sandy beaches and water – lots of water. Oh … and she can be a bit demanding in wanting to ensure you do your best and never give up on yourself. And she loves cheesecake and coffee) :
Between kids, work, writing, exercising, friends, volunteering and well…living, things get busy. Really busy. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos that is life and forget to enjoy the little things. That’s why I invite you to join me, take a minute and…Don’t Forget To Breathe.