Monday, July 22, 2013
Monday Mailbox ~
For those of you newer to this blog, you may not remember my novel, Escape from Second Eden, was based primarily on my time in that country. I'm constantly surprised by how many sales come from Ceylon and India in the past couple years. This one particularly touched my heart and I'd like to share it with you. Now to the email...
I loved the book and waiting on more along this line. What you described although fictionalized in your book brings back many memories for me also as a child during those times. I remembered your mother and the bicycle she bought me all those years ago. I know that part of the story was true.
Why did you choose that particular time in your life to write about? Vijaya R.
When I started writing and going through my old journals, I remembered so much more. After I wrote half of the novel I let my sister read it.
"Joey, what did you learn in Ceylon?" she asked me.
I thought about it and she could see me shuffling through the folders of memories in my mind.
"You know what I learned?"
"Tell me," I said.
"I learned Algebra, Geometry, French and fear!" she said.
I nodded then she broke down and cried.
This was thirty years afterwards and her response was just as strong as if it were yesterday. All I could do was hold her making little shushing sounds. While our parents always did their best to shelter us from the cruel, hard world, this time there was no shelter nor comfort. We were immersed to the drowning point. Every time we struggled to the surface for a breath of air, we were hit by waves driving us under again.
After forty years, I still feel that sensation when remembering some parts of it. But why fiction rather than nonfiction? Because I was told too by the powers that be plus I could heighten the background events behind the action and raise the stakes. I pieced many things together as an adult in hindsight of which I had no knowledge of at the time. It also allowed me to blow up the characters to larger than life and still be grounded in reality from a reader's perspective. That's the key to writing fiction. The reader must have a vested interest in the characters and be able to relate to the action from their point of view.
When I think of all the stories I'd written in nonfiction over the years, this one was the only one that was powerful enough for me to write about as fiction. Everything else paled in comparison. Even the five other novels I'd written couldn't hold a candle to this one.
Why did I choose to write about a nightmare period in my life... to exorcise the demons in my adversity closet, of course. We all have demons and skeletons in our closets that need to see the light of day, don't we? I yield a sword of light in writing them out into the open. Stab at the skeletons with the light until they evaporate into dust with my pen.
Vijaya, I remember you well and happy you survived when so many didn't. And the tsunami too. Glad to know you are still alright. Thanks for the memories and the smiles. Write again soon. I will keep writing the skeletons out of my over filled closet.
As for the rest of you, you never know who is touched by your writing.
Keep writing and loving the Lord.