Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Your Story

We’ve been discussing the mature heroine this month, and quite frankly, I’m not sure what’s left to be said. We all agree that life doesn’t end at 30. That notion of the brimming eagerness of anything-is-possible youth aside, I firmly believe that most of us our just hitting our stride in our 30’s and 40’s. We’ve finally grown into our shoes, so to speak. We’ve had the chance to make some mistakes, learn from them and move on, smarter and better armed to weather the next storm life may throw at us. (One reason I think so many romance writers are “slightly older” when they begin their writing careers – unless you’re one of those lucky gifted authors born with pen in hand, it usually takes some life experience to produce a strong novel.)

Passion in all it’s wonderful forms; romance, careers, motherhood, a deeper understanding of ourselves and what we want as women, is always ebbing and flowing into and out of our lives. That’s the beauty of it, as long as we embrace life with hopefulness and energy, the chance for passion is just around the corner. Even romance, no matter how old we get, can find us.

I’m reminded of my husband’s grandmother recently turned 90. She was widowed early in life, in her mid 40’s. For decades she lived as a single, mature woman pursuing her own interests. She stayed very active and very involved with her family. And with one notable exception somewhere in her mid 60’s, she didn’t even date. Then, in her eighties, when other women would be sitting quietly on the sidelines, she had a timely reunion with a boy she’d been sweet on in high school and . . . bam! She was in love – for the second time. They’ve been happily married now for several years.

I’m not saying we all want to read about a heroine who remarries in her 80’s. But it’s important to know that love can find us wherever we are on our journey. While these women may not be the focal character in our novels, they should be represented, when possible, for this very reason. I’m sure most of you can think of some family member in a similar situation.

Someone mentioned in an earlier post this month that it doesn’t matter if the heroine is in her 30’s, even 40’s, if the story is written well, capturing our imaginations, entertaining us with twists and turns. I couldn’t agree more. And I think the industry is open to that when we consider books and movies like two of my all time favorites; Under the Tuscan Sun (which was a book first) and Something’s Gotta Give.

My point is that we are all heroines of our own lives. Think about it. This life is your one chance to tell the most important story you'll ever write. Your story. Write it well.


What about you? What are you passionate about? Are you living like the heroine in your own story?

22 comments:

Maxine Davis said...

Darcy,

I really enjoyed your post. You are right about some of us being slighty older when we start our writing career. I just didn't know that much about romance when I was very young. Of course I also wanted to write murder mysteries, but thankfully I know even less about them.

...Tuscan Sun and Something's GG are two of my favorites too.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Definitely in the older category for when I started writing. Loved Tuscan Sun!

I think I need a little change to be living like a "heroine" in my own story. Still need to balance the time I give to others versus time for my pursuits.

Marilyn Baron said...

I loved your post especially the part about finding passion just around the corner. I also liked the story about your husband's grandmother.

I'm passionate about writing, reading, travel and Italian food (especially spaghetti). Don't know if that makes me a hero in my own story, but I definitely use life experiences in every book I write.

Thanks.

Marilyn Baron

Cinthia Hamer said...

Excellent post, Darcy! And I agree with your premise that dipping our pens into the well of experience can only make a novel stronger.

Probably the thing I'm most passionate about is not wasting the life you're given. No matter if we grew up poor, wealthy, brimming with health or nagged by illness, we should grab on and hold tight with both hands and cherish each day. I've watched so many people fritter each precious day away and it breaks my heart. I want to give them a shake and tell them to open their eyes to what's around them. LOL!

I try to practice what I preach and live passionately. Even if I'm feeling rotten, I really FEEL the rottenness, KWIM???

Cyrano said...

Hmmm, good questions, Darcy.
What am I passionate about? I guess this wouldn't be considered romance novel fodder, but I'm passionate about being green. I've always leaned toward a greener way of living, but last week I watched a 2hr program called the 11th hr on Planet Green (a channel on comcast) Anyway, the show inspired me. My husband thinks I'm nuts, but I went out and bought detergents and soaps that don't put chemicals into the water, paper products that are fully recyclable and much to my kids chagrin, I'm turning off lights all over the house and unplugging unused apliances. Last night I actually read by candle light. It was nice.
Unfortunatly I don't think I'm living like a heroine, especially not in any of my stories (most of them are paranormal) I'm just living the life of an average housewife...nice for me, boring to read about though.
Loved your post Darcy. I always do.
Have a wonderfully, productive morning.
Tamara

CiCi Barnes said...

Very nice post.

Passion? Well, we all know I'm passionate about my Georgia Bulldogs, but my biggest passion is my family.

My mother, bless her soul, instilled that in me from an early age. I didn't have any brothers and sisters, but I had first cousins out the wazoo. We gathered every week at my grandmother's house for Sunday dinner. We've all scattered, none living in the same town,but we're still close at heart.

Now my children and their families are my heart and soul. Embrace that family of yours, far or near, and consider yourself the luckiest of the lucky if they are near. I know relatives can pinch your last nerve sometimes, but they carry some of the same blood you carry.

As for being a mature writer, I have amassed many comic and touching scenes that I often put in my stories, bits of family trials, tribulations, funny and poisnant tidbits.

Embrace the mature heroine in your own life.

CiCi

J Perry Stone said...

Lovely, Darcy.

I'm truly almost rabidly passionate about my family, my friends (most of them writers), my Buddhist community, and people treating other people kindly.

I don't know if I'm living like the heroine in my own story, however. I feel I'm here for something honorable, but haven't been tested yet.

I hope I pass.

Darcy Crowder said...

Hi Maxine, Debbie - I'm definitely one of the 'late starters' on writing - though I always knew it was something I wanted to do. :)

Being the heroine of your own life was something I read somewhere. It pertained to making the most of every day, having goals and going after them, like the women in our books.

Darcy Crowder said...

Hi Marilyn -

Would you believe my dh's grandmother walked a mile a day until just recently? She's a real dynamo!

I'm passionate about my family, my writing, creating stories, my friends, oh, and my dog :) ...I'd like to be more passionate about photography - I never seem to get the time to play with it like I'd like to.

Darcy Crowder said...

Hi Cynthia -

I couldn't agree more about not wasting a precious day! But, all too often I feel like they slip through my fingers without my getting to what's really important.

Hey Tamara - I love being green! LOL. I've been driving my family crazy for years unplugging things, turning off lights. They think I hate electricty. :) I love the new cloth grocery bags - I use them all the time.

I'm sure your life isn't boring in the least. Your way too funny, and being able to make the people around you laugh and smile is a wonderful gift.

Darcy Crowder said...

Hi there CiCi - I also grew up with large family get together's at grandmother's house every weekend. What wonderful memories. And we've also scattered to the wind these days. But there's talk of a BIG family reunion next year, so that's something to look forward to. :)


Hi JP! Have you ever read Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert? This is what the back cover blurb says: "A meditation on love in it's many forms - love of food, language, humanity, God, and most meaningful for Gilbert, love of self.....her extraordinary journey lets even the most cynical reader dare to dream of someday finding God deep in a mediation cave in India, or, perhaps, over a transcendent slice of pizza." I don't know, something tells me you'd like it. :)

Susan May said...

I like to think that I'm living "out loud." Getting the most out of it. I still have a list of things I want to do and am looking adventure. Willing to try stuff I've not done before.

Tami Brothers said...

I love this look at people's lives!! Great post. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

I can totally see these people, not only in my family members but in those that surround me when I walk down the street.

Thanks for making me take a second look.

Tami

Linsey Lanier said...

Beautiful post, as always, Darcy.

I think I live vicariously through my heroines, now that I'm writing suspense. I'd never have the guts to do what they do. :)

I love the story of your husband's grandmother and I like what you said about including older women in our books. Good point. I will keep that in mind.

Linsey

Ana Aragón said...

Darcy,

What a lovely post (expected, of course!) I like to think I bring a little of me into every story I write. I agree that "maturity" brings with it a bit more experience and a different viewpoint. I have a difficult time coming up with contemporary stories that involve 20-somethings!

The story of your husband's grandmother is precious! I want to be her when I grow up!

Ana

Anna Steffl said...

Wonderful post, Darcy! Amen, amen.

J Perry Stone said...

Darcy, Eat, Pray, Love is one of my all time favorites. Ever! It kills me you know me so well! Did you know they're making a movie out of it? Julia Roberts is Elizabeth Gilbert. Cannot wait!

And you have the same taste as I do in movies. Best romantic coms of the past decade? Definitely UTSun and SGGive (have to spell the last word in case everyone is as acronym-challenged as I)

Darcy Crowder said...

Susan! Living out loud. What a wonderful way to phrase it. I can totally see that about you. :)

Hi Tami - If it's one thing I'm blessed with, it's strong female characters in my family. I want to be a little like all of them.

Hi Linsey - Yes, definitely pepper your stories with colorful older characters, they bring so much wisdom. :)

Darcy Crowder said...

Hey Ana - All of you would just love dh grandmother (Grace). She can tell a story...I could listen to her for hours. She has so much wonderful life experience. :)



Thanks, Anna!

JP - LOL. Lucky guess, huh. Julia Roberts will make an awesome Elizabeth Gilbert! UTSun really hit me. I wanted to BE her. (not the divorced part, but the sense of adventure...sigh). Love that ladybug story...the symbolism. Wonderful! Now I'm going to have to watch it again this weekend. :)

Sandy Elzie said...

Darcy,

Sorry I'm late...had a deadline to meet and didn't quite make it. Oh well...as a mature woman I can allow myself to miss a deadline or two and not get frazzled. (g)

Loved your line about how we've only one life, this is our one shot, so live it well. True, true, true.

Thanks much,

Sandy

Carol Burnside said...

Love the story about your hubby's grandma. How cool that she was open to love, no matter her age. :)

Darcy Crowder said...

Sandy, Carol - Thanks for stopping by. Sorry about the deadline, but I know you'll turn in a fabulous product, you're that kinda gal!

Carol, I'm surrounded by late-in-life marriages in my family. It's truely inspiring. :)