Last night Paul and I went to our first meeting of the Stateline Night Writers at the local public library.
Most writers work alone, and when an opportunity comes to meet other writers, we should take it. Because I don’t drive much any more, it is especially nice that Paul is as interested in the group as I am. I am hoping meeting with SNW will stimulate him enough that he will begin writing his own stories.
There was a very interesting mix of people: three reporters (one retired), two English teachers, a young man interested in martial arts and a writing career, as well as others. In the past when I joined a writing group, most of the members were beginners who tried writing out and didn’t stick to it. I don’t fault them for that. It is hard to keep going when you work alone, and rejections from editors can make anyone question whether writing is the right career path for them. Even those who write as a hobby need encouragement.
While I write most days of the week, and have had some publishing success, I think getting to know other writers will prod me when I need to be prodded and will enrich me when I’m working on my own stories. I was impressed with the rich descriptive language I heard when my new friends read their stories.
I have completed my second edit of Defeating the Enemy, a novel centering around a young woman who learns she has fibromyalgia. I have sent it out to a couple of readers to review it and am looking for others to review it as well.
Writing is always a long, careful process for me. I want to be sure that what I write will help readers with their own lives. Anita has already sent back some comments on another book I have recently rewritten. Her comments will help me to produce a stronger manuscript as I ready it for publication. I hope someone will do the same for Defeating.
I chose the subject of fibromyalgia because I have it. There have been many emotional ups and downs, not just as I dealt with the pain of the disease, but as I tried to make my life as normal as possible. Many times I have been limited, and I still feel guilt if I can’t do as much as some of my friends. I want to be active for the Lord in my church, but I know I’ll pay the price if I overdo.
I wondered what it would be like for a single woman, desiring a husband and family, to realize that she has a chronic, potentially incurable illness. Would she ever meet a man who would accept her as she is? And what about the man? Could he live with someone he knows would suffer the limitations of a chronic illness. I try to answer some of these questions in Defeating the Enemy.
It has been a long time since I have posted to this blog mostly because I have been busy working on a book with the working title Defeating the Enemy. It is a book about a young woman who learns she has fibromyalgia. She is single, a hard worker, a participator in life. When she learns there is no known cure for fibromyalgia (also known as FMS) she is devastated. She is in pain, and fears her life will always be limited now.
I am trying not to make this book autobiographical, but I can’t help but insert some of my own experiences with FMS. I think I started showing symptoms when I was in seventh or eighth grade. Of course, no one knew what it was then. My parents were at a loss as to what to do for me. Was I just trying to get attention? Was I a liar? After all, I did have ambitions to be a writer; was this another story I was telling?
As I grew to adulthood, there were other explanations. I was too emotional. I didn’t eat right. I was too busy and needed to balance my life. The worst one of all was I had a spiritual problem. When I learned I had a disease called fibrositis, later renamed fibromyalgia, I didn’t believe it for two years. I had bought into all the lies and accusations.
My problems were complicated by experiencing extensive arthritis, called by one doctor “progressive degenerative joint disease.” I have learned to live with both conditions. They are a fact of my life.
I decided I wanted to use what I have learned over the years, so I started writing Defeating the Enemy. It took a year for me to finish the first draft. Tomorrow I begin working on it again after a three week break during which I typed into my computer an old book that I had written in the early eighties. My purpose is not to whine about my aches and pains, but to inform through fiction. I have researched the subject thoroughly, so my information is as up to date and I can make it. I would appreciate your prayers as I continue to work.
Writing is slow and often difficult work. When I’m reading someone else’s book, I am finished in a matter of hours. When I’m writing my own, it takes much longer. I am back to working on Defeating the Enemy, a book on defeating fibromyalgia–or at least learning to live with it. I don’t know how long it will take me to finish it. It is very important to not only stay true to the story line I’ve mapped out, but to also accurately report the facts on fibromyalgia.
It is very personal to me. In April, 2015 my doctor suggested I try a new treatment, a medicine to cure an underlying infection which I might have had for many years. He said the new medicine would not hurt me and might help me. I took the medicine, and my friends asked me often if it was working or not.
I didn’t know. I have several other medical problems and wasn’t sure if the pain I was feeling was from fibromyalgia or some other cause. When I went to the doctor last week, he told me he thought the fibromyalgia was better, due to my reaction to the routine tests performed during the examination. He wants me to continue that medicine.
I want to have hope. I’d love to be cured. I want to tell you anyone with fibromyalgia can be cured. I ask for your prayers, both in writing this book and in personal healing.
I have always loved to write, but I have other interests, too. One major interest is painting. Years ago when I was a busy mother of five children, the youngest being less than a month old, my husband insisted I take a class at my local technical college–just so I could get away from the kids for a while. I ended up taking a Painting and Sketching class. I’m not good at drawing, but something different happens when I have a paintbrush in my hand.
Last Saturday I started a painting, not knowing exactly what I wanted, but just loving the feel of brushing paint on the canvas. As the painting developed, mountains under a cloudy sky took shape, then foothills, a lake, and a house, with bushes and rocks in the foreground. It was a pretty typical painting for me. But something was wrong. It didn’t look right. It needed something more. So, I added a rowboat and a dock. Because my hands were shaking, the rowboat looked awful. I tried again. Every time I tried to make it better, the rowboat got bigger, until the rowboat on the lake was bigger than the house.
YUCK and DOUBLE YUCK!! I was tired. I was frustrated. I was ready to toss the whole painting in the nearest trash can. I dipped a paper towel in turpentine and wiped off that part of the painting. Then I turned the painting to the wall, easel and all, and left the room. Painting was supposed to make me feel good, but I certainly didn’t feel good that day.
Four days later I was calmer, I had finished an important writing project, and I had bought some flowers for my garden. Life was much more peaceful. I faced my painting again. I worked on all aspects of the painting in a much happier frame of mind. However, there was still something lacking in my painting. I thought about it for a while, then I added some huge pine trees in the foreground. What had seemed lifeless, became much more interesting. Those trees took the ‘blah’ out of the painting and turned it into a ‘yeah!’
Yesterday I was working hard on the galley proofs of Shepherd’s Song when Paul told me he had to go to Ace Hardware. Did I want to come along? I immediately thought of the rest of the items on my list to complete, and I said “I’d love to, but I still had work to do. ” I got something else ready that I wanted him to do. He was sitting in the car waiting for them.
I stepped out the back door and felt the warm rush of air. It was one of the nicest days we’ve had in weeks. Paul said, “You can still come with me…” I ran back into the house and grabbed my purse. The dishes and other jobs could wait until later. We weren’t gone long, but I had a much needed and refreshing break.
I hardly ever go to the library, because I have so many books in my pile that I have purchased waiting to be read. I also get a daily offer from Gospel E-Books. Almost every day some company offers a free e-book and, if I’m interested, one will be down loaded to my Kindle app.
Recently my daughter was cleaning out her books–some that she had read and some that she hadn’t–and she decided to send some of them to me as a birthday gift. Ten books! All by favorite authors! Whoo-hoo!
However, some were parts of series, and I didn’t have the first books in the series. So, I made a trip to my local library. I checked out five books yesterday and spoke to a man at the checkout desk. The fact that I am a writer came up, and the clerk asked me if the library had any of my books. I told him about The Secret of the Hidden Cave and the Marty Series. He immediately brightened up and said that he had read my Marty books. Amazing! I had written them over thirty years ago. I told him I had another book coming out within the next year and said to make sure I told him when it is published.
Writing is often a lonely life. It was wonderful to find out that even after thirty years, someone was reading my books.