Now what? It occurs to me that I’ve spent so long preparing these seven books that are still not “ready for market,” that I don’t know what to do now that I’ve given myself permission to “just write.” I’ve been ready to move on for years. Yes, I mean “move on.” This term, I’ve learned from a number of trusted friends and loved ones is shunned among the grieving. We do not “move on” from grief… but in this case, I’m ready to move on. I’m not grieving these seven books. These three, or six worlds I’ve created (depending on how you look at them) aren’t lost or gone or dead. There is no grief in “leaving them.” I’ve finally given them permission to be! I grieved and mourned when they were hidden away from the world. Not so anymore. They are alive and available for you or for no one and I do not care (but if you do read them, as always please leave feedback for me in an Amazon review so I know how to get better at my craft). I’m not an all-star advertiser, that ain’t my jam (if it’s yours and you believe in my work, let’s chat, I’ll split royalties!). I’m a writer and my job is done for these seven books! I created them. They’re out there. Now I move on to other worlds, words and stories!
I move on because only seven stories are out there. There are so many more books and Creations in my mind! I have an intentional non-fiction partially drafted, and a few more that could be manuscripted. I have who knows how many drafts of fictional work in various stages of doneness, or mostly finished. I have hidden ideas that have all of a sudden exploded in my mind again, tapping, knocking, pounding out their existence in my mind… “Hello! We are here. Will you work with us again? Will you please, finally make us come to life?” I’m ready to move on to them. They deserve shelf space and existence as much as the other seven do.
Really, then, the question isn’t, “Now what?” It’s more like… How do I choose? How many do I have to choose from? I don’t even know. There’s the first. We all know that nothing compares to the first! It’s still out there, stopped dead, ironically at a funeral scene. Letting Go… its working title. This first story of mine, this first awakening of a different place, time and world, these main characters are, have always been, black. Do I, a white woman, have the right to write this story? Appropriation comes to mind, “woke” comes to mind, “White Supremacy” comes to mind, and yet, this is the first for me. My first story was all about them. Kiera, Marcus and their family. How I loved shoving myself deep into Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Alex Haley’s world where Kunta Kinte endured so much and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a dead-too-soon mentor changed my life and opened my eyes even wider to the racial disparities that still exists and how I as a Christian must be against racism. I cannot forget the truck driving culture I researched too, the world of sleeper Mack Trucks and mobile existence, and families back home, the European boarder crossing drivers, the lot lizzards… All gloriously assimilated into Kiera and Marcus’ world. But … Do I dare tell their story? I’m white. That’s dangerous. But they were never white, always black, always. Who do I offend if I continue their story? Who do I betray if I change them to white because I am white? What happens to them if I don’t finish their story? Can I find a friend who is black who will give them credence. Ahhhh, yes, yes I can! I see her now, in my mind, this gorgeous dark skinned friend of mine! She will help… I’m sure of it! And so Kiera and Marcus’ story might come to life , but I will not make them white. They are not white. They are survivors of a legacy of slavery, atrocities put on them that built the wealth of this nation. Their heritage and story deserve to be told. I will not change them to white because I am white and it’s frowned upon for me to write characters any color other than white.
Why do I have to write just white anyway?! Why can’t I give presence to other cultures and colors in my worlds? Who dares say because I’m white, I can only write white characters. That’s rude! Maybe I only know the experiences of a white woman but I LOVE multi-colored, multi-racial spaces where other cultures can be celebrated and explored by my ignorant white friends who see only their world, and see it so blindly, they can’t even identify characteristics of their own white culture. I WANT racial diversity in my work. I do not want vanilla white power, assumption and privilege. It disgusts me. More than disgusts me, it saddens me. So blind, we whites, we are so blind. Why not give presence in my white womans’ novel to all the colors?
There’s that, and then there’s “my” people... the “conservative Christians.” Sex and Jesus, my non-fiction work, will surely piss them off. I’ll be a heretic for sure! Let’s be honest, it’s going to piss off the LGBTQ+ sector of the population too. And just now it occurs to me, maybe it was better to get bogged down in the seven books of yore than face ridicule from all sides and sectors because I want to honestly explore sex and sexuality for myself and with my God and my Bible. The “Safe Seven” … Can I call borderline erotica and books that discuss child abuse, drug addiction, suicide, and abortion and highlight Korean and blind characters “safe” and get away with it?! I didn’t have to worry about anyone calling me out or ridiculing me too badly with the Safe Seven (but that’s probably because they weren’t properly marketed haha).
Who cares if they’re offensive? They scream to exist so, in boldness I must press on, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations… ohhhh wait… that sci-fi world already exists. I digress. In boldness I dare to step into deeper waters. It’s where I’ve always longed to go, but it’s dangerous. I can’t touch bottom if I go too far in my fiction and non-fiction. There is deep, thick, eddied water out there that just might pull me under. But again, what does it matter? I don’t market. No one will read it anyway right?! I mean without big dollar marketing I’m a no one and a nothing. I can write whatever I want and it won’t exist in the real world at large. So… why not write what my mind creates?! If I’m white and I want to give space and presence to black main characters, I will! If I’m conservative Christian and want to explore polygamy and homosexuality I will! If I’m happily, faithfully married and want to write about a polyamorous soul, or middle class and want to dare to enter the world of the unencumbered rich, or dwellingless destitutes, I will! I’m doing it!
I feel it’s only right and fair to dust off the old stories down in the cellar first (Anyone else hear Creole Williams just now?) Let me take them down off their long forgotten shelves, blow off the cobwebs, wipe down the sides and surfaces, pour out the worlds I’ve hidden away for far too long, breathe in my creation, celebrate the skills, however unrefined they are that God has given me, and offer them up and out into this world we all share so you may share in my world. I think sending them out first is the right thing to do. In theory, the more I write, the better I’ll get at my craft and if I leave these firstlings to fester, I’ll never move on. I’ll always hear Marcus crying for Kiera, and Lewis and Clark beckoning me to explore. Yeah, there’s dust and inexperience, but these half-crafted come out first. Fiction and non. I’ve got four days of mornings to write, I’ll give two to fantasy and two to reality. I’ve got an inventory to work with for a couple years at least, I’m sure. Fair enough… hello worlds, how ya been?! It’s good to be here again! Fingers flying across the keyboard, ideas filling my mind. Hello you, hello me! Let the new adventures in old worlds begin! As always, whoever you are, enjoy!
My current inventory of unpublished, unfinished or somewhat started stories for reference and planning:
Sex and Jesus – and all the others that come in this explorer’s series of the Bible
Sailing with Russell (do I still call it that?!) - maybe that too is where reluctance to “move on” comes from
Missing Matea – is it more than an idea anywhere in any manuscript, this “Missed Connections” creation or mine?!
And then of course there just must be a book for Ashlee and Jake, since the other kids have one!
Manalysis and Date-a - because if I charted my dating adventures, I can publish them right?!
The Leaving – because there is something there to share
Dementia Land – but that story isn’t over yet is it?
Letting Go – the first world I ever created, paused at a funeral
Eleven Lives of Evelynne – Ohhhhhh to be skilled enough to take on her 144 overlapping years, do I dare?! Maybe it’s fear keeping me from moving on and into the complexity here
The Big Y – my Nanowrimo of favorite people’s favorite songs! Oh I love this HEA!
Sugar Shack – because oh what a dreadfully transformative place this is!
Cardboard testimonies – I can’t even begin to imagine how this world will change mine!
Ladies of the Loop, or Let’s get Loopy, or some other sweet sisterhood story that centers here in Wenatchee on friends who meet for walks and runs on the Apple Capital Loop Trail
How Church Girls Get it On! - because that’s a purely shameless endeavor!
Parens Patriae – the dystopian world born in Kaihla’s mind, that’s gestated in mine for all these years now
Exotic Teas, The Sunrise Guy, The Amazon Adventure, and The Safe Story – none of my own, but if he who shared them with me doesn’t do something with them… I just might!! - hint, hint!!!!
That’s it?! Really?! Only these works or worlds of my own and a handful of borrowed concepts? They seem like an endless universe inside me, ever expanding, galaxies and solar systems to explore, chart and share! Here I boldly go!