Today I decided to search my archives for posts from back in the beginning…and found this one from 6/22/09, my very first post on this site. Back then, it was called Explorations….but it later morphed into its present form. The message is the same as it was back then: my journey through life via my various creations. The A-frame house above is one I was living in when I wrote the novel, and it was the inspiration for parts of the story.
Today I also changed my theme. Another thing I do fairly regularly.
Here is a copy of that first post:
In my novel “An Accidental Life,” I focused on a local phenomenon in the Central Valley of California – methamphetamine abuse. In the early nineties, I was working in child welfare services for the County of Fresno, and a proliferation of substance abuse cases (related to methamphetamine or “crank” abuse) became a regular aspect in the life of the social worker.
Years later, when I decided to pen a novel that featured these issues, I chose to zero in on characters that were composites of those I met during this time in my professional career. I also added my own personal take to the story by creating characters from my personal history.
As a result, we have a bird’s eye view, as it were, into the life of social workers and their clients.
To spice things up a bit, I added a subplot that featured a stalker/murderer, a nod to another aspect of Central Valley life – homicides. We have had our share of unsolved mysteries in this Valley city, but in my novel, I chose to reach a solution to the stalker/homicide that focuses on one of my characters.
Finally, because I do not believe in “happily ever after,” I did make one concession to this familiar theme: I chose what I call a “hopeful ending.” The characters are left with the faith that the “journey” in life is really what it’s all about. Finding themselves on the path of self-discovery, with its complexities and obstacles, allows the characters to persist – to believe.
In the end, that’s really all we have.
Here’s an excerpt from An Accidental Life, the book that started it all for me and my creations:
Once upon a time, Karin Larson had believed in endless possibilities. In her childhood, all the adults had asked her the same question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Picturing a giant list from which she could choose, Karin had played with the task, picking out one thing or another, while watching the reaction of the grownups to help her know if her choices were right or wrong.
Much later, Karin had come to realize that selecting one thing meant giving up something else. A possibility lost…perhaps forever. Sometimes, not making any choice at all was just a different way of choosing.
Karin often wondered about those alternate paths. As a single mother and a social worker for the past fourteen years, she was a responsible and professional person. She had achieved some expertise in her field. On the surface, an observer might see her as a calm, reasonably attractive woman in her mid-to-late thirties.
So why did she wake up every morning of her life wishing she were somewhere else and anyone else?
Today was no different from any other. Karin heard the alarm and cringed. Then, to stave off the inevitable, she pretended to be on vacation in some tropical island. She could almost feel the breeze off the ocean, and the scent of suntan lotion wafted toward her. She could feel her body relaxing into the chaise lounge, while a handsome man approached with a tall, cold drink with one of those little umbrellas on top. “Mom!” Bridget’s voice interrupted her reverie with its irritatingly teenage quality, that tone that demanded immediate attention. As she pushed open the bedroom door, she continued. “I can’t find that book I’m supposed to take back today! Have you put it somewhere?” Her tone, almost accusing, brought Karin rudely back to reality.
“No, Bridget,” she replied, forcing an appropriately calm and maternal tone into her own voice, refusing to resort to exchanging irritable words with her daughter. “Why don’t you check the desk? I think I saw it there last night. And, good morning to you, too!” She aimed a curving smile in her daughter’s direction.