It always surprises and enchants me how my creative life and my real life intersect. In one dizzying week, I’ve been given the opportunity to change my character’s storyline and my own.
We all tell ourselves stories about our lives; myths and fantasies that either hold us back or distract us from reality. But sometimes I think we need to experience ourselves in a situation before we can truly come face to face with who we are, as opposed to who we thought we were.
As in my novel, I had chosen the ending to the story that I wanted and all writers will know how hard it is to give that idea up. Yet ultimately, I don’t think we need to possess our heart’s desire in order for it to be of value to us. For it is the experience of life that offers us the greatest prize – an insight into ourselves. So much of life and growth is about letting go. I had to let go of the vision I had for my character’s arc in order to write a more enriching story. A wonderful new editor advised me that my main character needed to retain her agency in order for the story to work and I couldn’t agree more. We are not passive bystanders, victims of life’s whims – our power lies in our agency and our ability to think and act in ways that shape our experiences and change the course of lives. We can choose new endings. Better ones.
I don’t need to be obtuse. I think we all know I’m talking about matters of the heart. That complicated, cavernous place of deep joy and despair. Yet it keeps beating, and your story will find it’s own rhythm if you’re willing to let the melody drift and flow where it will. Welcome change, let it in, let it blow open the doors and sing your story like a bright bird from the tree tops.
Art and life are inseparable, one will always inform the other. I’m writing the truest novel I have ever written, with all of the light and shade that I sometimes find hard to face in life. An author’s job is to present the truth by employing a beautiful lie. Perhaps we do the same as people. The lies are beautiful, but the truth is worth its weight in gold. It is what makes us human. It is our story. And our stories are something to be proud of. x