I’ve been doing a lot of reading about writing. I’ve been reading about the writing process, how to get ideas, form characters, etc. I also read about the publishing process and what to expect, how to write a query letter, all that good stuff. So far I’ve read How I Write by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof, and am just starting Writer With a Day Job by Aine Greaney. What I’ve taken from these books so far seems so obvious but sometimes gets overlooked, and that’s to write write write!
So that’s what I started doing. Just writing. No matter what.
There’s something else though that the authors forgot to mention, and that’s the element of emotion. When you start to write something that really means something to you, you feel it. It wakes up emotions that you forgot were buried deep within you.
I have a few story ideas floating in my head right now. They aren’t much yet but little thoughts. There is one though that I’ve started on, that has a personal connection. At first, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to write about it, but now I think I need to write about it as it’s starting to turn into a kind of therapy for me. It’s about my estranged half-sister (did I mention I have one?), our father, and our weirdly connected but disconnected lives. It’s about reaching out to someone you don’t know but are connected to in some way that you don’t understand.
I met my half-sister once when I was about five. I really don’t remember much except that we went to Enchanted Forest in Oregon, when I was still living out there. The next time I talked to her was via facebook 23 years later. My grandmother had written me and told me she had tracked her down and gave me some of her info, and that I should try to reconnect with her. So, after a lot of time thinking to myself, freaking out about what to say, questioning myself, I did. At first it was via letter, then I did the normal thing to do, I scoured facebook and facebook stalked her. I added her as a friend and we’ve been slowly learning bits and pieces of our lives since.
It’s been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. In the few months that we’ve been slowly messaging each other, feeling each other out, I’ve run the gamut on emotions. I’m excited to know that I have a half-sister. For my whole life, I’ve considered myself to be an only child, living in my own world. Having a sister is such a new and different thing to me. I’ve never understood the connection that people have to their siblings. I’m sad that we’ve lost 20+ years that maybe we could have known each other. I’m worried she shows the same signs of anger issues and bad decision making skills as our dad.
You know, when I had originally been told by my grandmother that she had tracked her down, I was nervous and pretty excited about the thought of having a sister to confide in. I ran all these scenarios in my head of what it would be like, what she’d look like, what kind of hobbies she’d have, etc. But the reality is, is that life usually doesn’t like to coincide with your thoughts and ideas and dreams. She has lived a tough life. She’s immersed herself with not so good people, has had run-ins with the law, but overall feels emotionally lost. She recently made another bad decision and had another run in with the law. I messaged her and she opened up. She told me how she has people in her life who drag her down, that she has felt so alone for the last five years, and that she really appreciated me reaching out to her. She asked me if I could help her make the right life decisions.
I felt so emotional. No one, on that level, has asked for my help. My heart goes out. I feel overwhelmed. In one moment, I’m thanking God for putting us together at her time of need. I’m feeling lost because I don’t know what to do to help. The only thing I can do in my nerdy wisdom is offer to send her a book. The book is called The Shack. It’s an amazing book by William Paul Young. The protagonist is a man who has lost his child in a horrendous crime. God sends him to the Shack in which the crime was committed. It seems so cruel at first but God meets him there, and he protagonist has a kind of one on one conversation with him, about all the emotions he is feeling, the whys, the hows, of life. I recommend it to anyone, Christian or not. It invites you to look at life in another way. In a forgiving way, even when life hands you the cruelest set.
Like I mentioned before, I think writing about this part of our lives, and the development of our relationship, however it turns out, will be therapeutic. Maybe as I write it, it will give me inspiration. I plan on fictionalizing parts of it as well, constructing it in a positive outcome, but being realistic about it at the same time. It’s my way of visualizing a future, and a way I can control it.
Doing this has stirred up a lot of emotions I haven’t dealt with in quite a while. It actually took me two days to write this. I started writing it immediately after we’d talked but I realized I was too emotional to even write it.
I don’t know if she will ever see this blog, but I hope she takes this whole thing positively. To know I have a sister is something I’ve never had before. It’s something I want to make real and right and good. I hope she sees me as a resource for help, in whatever way she needs, because I think in some ways we are both lost in this world, and maybe we can help find each other.