When someone asks why I write, the answer is simple. BECAUSE I HAVE TO. In a way I wish I had to do something more practical like constructing actuary tables or I don't know, selling 8 billion dollar houses to moguls, or something really fancy like hedgefunding or competitive eating. Any of these would certainly be more profitable but when faced with it, even now, I'm here- writing. Again. I guess it's because I love it, and when we get down to it, we all do crazy things for love.
I would never give up that wood...
Not for a book I was writing. I wouldn't give up my seat on the bus for a blog. I wouldn't change a song I like on the radio if one of my short stories asked me to. But I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who love me enough they'd do exactly what Jack did for Rose in Titanic, if you switch out freezing to death in the icy waters of a sinking ship, for sweltering in 98 degree humidity in Paramus, New Jersey.
These lovelies braved the heat and the Parkway to come with me to the Books NJ festival. They were my pit crew and my support. Though it's a fabulous event that supports authors, booksellers, and libraries it might not be the most exciting place to bring two kids on a heatwave blistered Sunday. Have I mentioned the better half isn't much for the heat? It didn't matter. He stood there cooking in the sun anyway.
By the time my panel discussion started I was hot, cranky, and looked like a confused tourist looking for a train. Still my family waited.
I'm glad they did. First off they got to meet Pam Lobley (hilarious), author of Why Can't We Just Play? and Lisa Romeo (brilliant), author of Every Loss Story is a Love Story: The Father Daughter Reunion. Yes, I may be biased but they shared some of their writing secrets and a whole lot of insight about writing memoir that made the day seem less cook-you-alivey and more this-is-pretty-cool-y.
Both of these writers bring passion and honesty to their stories that reminds me why I jump out of the shower sometimes to write down ideas or why in the middle making dinner I mutter things like "you have to kill that" to no one but myself about things that have nothing to do with murder and everything to do with uninteresting subplots.
My family got to hear how much they factor into what I do, not just from me but from the other authors. We writer types are as strongly driven by the ones who love us as we are the words that pull us across the page.
We joked about the proverbial "takeaway" during our panel discussion, that big SO WHAT that gives the reader a warm fuzzy at the end of what they read, justifying the time they've used up with your words when they could've been playing with a guinea pig.
In this case the takeaway is that I'm thankful. It's a rare thing to have the true support of the people you love. They are the reason I do what I do, and try my best to do it well. Like Rose, after Leo became a Jacksicle, I try to make the most of the life they give me.
*My dear Bippie/sister from another mister and her lovely mother also braved the toaster oven of a day to share this event with me. They are represented here by Chino the Magnificent (her guinea pig extraordinaire.)
Thanks for reading!