If you follow me on Facebook, you already have an Inkling what this post is about. On Tuesday, I posted the following status:
“Netflix offers us the opportunity to see all our shows from the very beginning. Dot and I are working through Grey’s Anatomy. At times cute, endearing, vulgar and heartpounding. Tonight we saw an older episode that suggested it’s harder to ignore someone if you know Five Things about them. My Five Things are in the first comment. What are yours?”
There weren’t too many comments on that post, but I did get a few messages that it started a few people thinking. Is it harder for you to ignore someone if you know more about them?
As a writer, I love learning more about people. I love hearing what they have to say, knowing what makes them tick, discovering personality traits… all of it. Knowledge of people inspires me, creates characters, provides background. It’s wonderful. I just love stories.
That is, of course, the subject of today’s post. Stories. But what kind of stories? Well, that’s as unique as the person telling it. Give me the same story told by five different people, and I’ll have five different stories!
I have a plethora of family stories: The chipmunk in the dryer vent. Dad’s bear rug. The turned-over potato truck and more deer than we could count. Mom asking for a Second Hand in the Kitchen. The snake under the stairs that was actually just a box of fishing bait rattling around. Moving cross-country, then back again, in one week.
And an assortment of personal experiences. Most of these are being compiled for my writing project: Broken Girl and Other Tales of Redemption: A Collection of Parables, Poetry and Prose.
I love well-told stories. A gifted writer can hold your interest on subjects you’d rather not study. A well-written resource paper is far less mundane than a bulleted checklist, don’t you think?
In keeping with today’s theme, here are my Friday Five: Stories.
1. Jo March, the narrator of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is a character I fell deeply in love with because she resonated my young life. “Settled into a temporary poverty”, this tomboy is more comfortable with a pen than most people. She feels more deeply, loves more intensely, and lives more rambunctiously than I have… yet! She inspires me. I used to tell people I was named after her (my middle name is Jo!).
2. Award-winning Stephen J. Cannell, the magnificent writer-creator-producer of many television shows. I used to watch so many. The Rockford Files was my dad’s favorite. I was enamored with shows from the 80s: 21 Jump Street, The A-Team, Riptide. I used to tell my family, someday he’s going to know who I am. They laughed. In 2007, I sent him an email, never ever ever thinking I’d get any sort of response. Boy, was I wrong! Not only did I get a response, but he turned it into a video response for his international website [you can see his advice to me about writing here. It's still the first video that shows on this page!] He was the first writer/mentor to call me by both my first and middle name. So for three years we had a quasi-mentor friendship online. Facebook and twitter interactions, mostly. And then in 2010 the planets aligned and I was able to meet him in person for a book signing! It was the day after my birthday, which made it that much better. And six months later he died. I saw the post on Facebook and it took me fifteen minutes of online searching to verify his page hadn’t been hacked. I couldn’t believe he was gone. My heart broke. I remember calling my mother, crying, and blurting out, “Stephen’s dead! Stephen’s dead!” As if he would somehow remember me, remember how important he’s been to my writing career. And then there was the email incident. If it hadn’t happened to me, I’d be very skeptical. But it was me. It did happen. And so I try to write. Every day.
3. Louie L’Amour has such a style of writing that leaves me breathless. I wish I could read fast, quick, without blurring the words, without forgetting what was on the previous page. I wish I could swallow up every story of the Sacketts and all other characters he’s created in one afternoon, and then start over again. I’m still currently reading his Collected Short Stories. I’m a slow reader, lately. But when I do read, I love it! I even named my 2011 annual Christmas Nutcracker after him!
4. I have a hard time writing fantasy. I’m very much a logical, linear thinking; which is quite oxymoronic for being a creative writer. Still, I try. My desire is to be read. To be a quality, best-selling, recognized writer. And still be able to go to Disneyland without getting mobbed.
5. I have many Cookbooks that I like to read and study. But rarely do I cook from them. I’m too afraid of spending money on groceries for a recipe we may not like, and then it’s money down the drain. Someday I’d love to write a series about a Chef who solves mysteries. Sort of a “Murder, She Wrote…” with a Julia Child-type protagonist. Well, now. I’ve written the idea. I guess I better start working on it.
*Bonus Story* When I was 9 years old, I read a short story in Cricket Magazine. Rosemary for Remembrance. To this day, I remember that story, but have been unable to find it. It was the story of a lonely girl who found a playmate in her grandmother’s backyard… with a surprise ending. Oh, how I wish I could find that story! It inspired me, at the age of 9, to write well. It showed me how to build suspense and deliver a twist. That little short story that I can’t find anywhere continues to inspire me to this day.
And now it’s your turn. Leave me a comment with Five Things about Stories. They can be your favorite authors, your favorite memories, your favorite books. Anything related to stories. You don’t have to be a blogger. There’s no link-up. Just share your Friday Five Things. Be sure to check back frequently as others leave their FFTs as well!
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!
You may also enjoy reading:
Falling in Love With Louis
Self / Public / ation
Why I Don’t Go To Carnivals in October
A Good Name
I Want to Write in That Style
Amara’s Light: Book One of the Grenalia Chronicles