2011 is shaping up to be a personal year for me. Events have taken place that I feel compelled to write about them and others throughout my childhood. Writing personal essays has now become a part of my writing agenda.
I have been reading books on essays, including Writing from Personal Experience by Nancy Davidoff Kelton and Writing Articles from the Heart by Marjorie Homes. I have found them both helpful and motivating and I have since compiled a list of possibilities to write about. Reading these books have also helped with my novels.
My first novel begins with a hit and run accident. I was left wondering if my writing sounded convincing enough when revealing the emotions of my characters. It was not until I was going over my personal experiences that I discovered I must have had some kind of repressed memory. I was in primary school when my grandfather was hit by a truck. He died instantly. Images and emotions of the days that followed flashed through my mind. I did know about such an event; I know how that feels. I feel I can now do my re-writes with more confidence.
It’s also funny how timing comes into our lives. Through my husband’s work, he forwarded on a link to a Victorian Roads commercial. This video is both graphic and confronting, yet it brings the message home. It, too, has allowed me to focus on the emotions and the people who are left behind. Since watching this video, I have discovered that looking outside the box is a helpful tool.
As Nancy Davidoff Kelton writes in her book: ‘Writing isn’t about going far. It’s about going far within’.
How far are you willing to travel?