As I've mentioned before, I lost my mom recently. Well, technically it was a year and a half ago, but most of the time it still feels like yesterday. I was at her side when she drew her last breath on August 28th, 2006.
I'm not telling you this to elicit sympathy. It really is relevant to writing. In my case, very much so. Three days after Mom's passing, I started writing a new book. A book of honor. The first draft took nine months, written in stolen late-morning hours while my youngest napped.
If, or should I say when, this book makes it to print, it will be dedicated to Mom.
For the main character is Mom. Well, not exactly her, but definitely parts of her. Good parts and parts not so good. For example, the heroine, Dianne, uses the phrase "wonderful" to describe something truly nice, or to describe something truly not nice at all, just like Mom did. Dianne is also somewhat of a worrier, like Mom was. Also like Mom, Dianne's life is dedicated to family, especially to motherhood. She tries to make the right choices. And she strives for honesty.
At least most of the time.
The main theme of the book, beyond the age-old good vs. evil, is grief and recovery. Dianne learns to live with the loss of her husband, then her Grandmother. I learned to deal with losing my grandmother several years ago, and am still learning to deal with losing my mom. There is, of course, a lot of myself in these pages as well.
So, is this the book of my heart? You bet your sweet bippy it is. And it was an emotional, yet healing process to write it. But penning such a book also poses its own set of problems -- a need to parry and thrust, trying to stab a target called perfection for one. This is illustrated by the fact that nearly a year and a half later (I did write a novella, several newspaper stories and essays, plus sketched out two other books during that time, but still...) I am just now at the end of the revision process on "Mom's book".
This book was written with so many tears, fears and memories that I am determined it will see press and binding. Even if I eventually have to turn to self-publishing to accomplish that reality.
After all, Mom's character deserves a permanent home between the covers of a real book, wouldn't you agree?
Have you ever thought of a loved one, alive or deceased, as you wrote? If so, how did it effect your feelings about the story? Did it help, or hinder your writing process?