My Green Gables Moment

… at 11:30 pm as I was trying to find sleep.

You ever have one of those nights? The kind where you lay in bed awake because your mind is going a million miles a minute? It was definitely one of those nights for me. I had been talking with a friend earlier in the day about how I missed living near mountains. It got me thinking about where I want to be and what I want to be doing. As many of you know from reading this blog, I do aspire to be a writer. Since starting work a year ago, I really haven’t had much time to delve into my creative processes. I mean, I want to be a fantasy writer. That means I need to know my world, my magic system, and my characters inside and out. I simply don’t have that creative energy right now, but I don’t want to wait until I do to resume my writing.

That’s what got me thinking of Anne of Green Gables. Over the last weekend, I invited my mom over to watch the Green Gables miniseries pack that I bought on DVD. There was a lot of nostalgia and tears and we really enjoyed it. In the second miniseries, which is based on L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Avonlea (or Anne of the Island – I don’t quite remember), Anne receives her first rejection letter for a manuscript that she had submitted for publication. She stumbles upon Gilbert Blythe and he coerces her into showing him the rejection letter. Later, after a certain episode concerning baking powder, Gil tells Anne that she’d be better off writing about things she knows, in common English. He tells her that she should write of Avonlea. She does and is published.

So I started thinking last night about writing something that I know. I don’t have to create a world if it’s real. I don’t have to develop characters if they’re real. I’m not saying it’s easier, but it would be a more manageable way to write while working full-time.

Then I realized that taking that literally and fictionalizing my own childhood wouldn’t really work. I mean, growing up in the 80’s doesn’t exactly have the same kind of charm as growing up in the countryside of an island in the Maritime. I then asked myself, Does it need to be fiction?

So, what do I know?

Lately, my mind has been on weight loss. Many of you read the other blog that I share with my husband, which is chronicling our weight loss journey. It’s been really good for me as I talk about some of the day-to-day (or week to week) struggles of weight loss. However, in my frenzied thoughts last night as I tried to find sleep, I realized that there’s so much more to weight loss than the journey at the end. I’ve had a relationship with my weight from my earliest childhood that has shaped my perception of myself.

Does anybody care?

It doesn’t matter. Writing this is going to help me in numerous ways. Firstly, it’s going to get me writing again, without having to invest as much creativity (which is at an all-time low) into it. Secondly, it will be immensely cathartic. I hadn’t realized until last night just how much my weight (both lack or excess of) is tied deeply into my self-image and how I approach things. Finally, it will help me on my current (and final) weight loss attempt.

It will probably never be published. In fact, it will probably never be read by anyone except my husband and my mother, because the love me and they have to. It doesn’t matter if no one else finds it interesting, inspiring or otherwise mind-opening. It just has to be written.

When I was a young girl of eight or nine, I remember watching an after-school special with my sister. I don’t remember the name and I don’t remember the story. What I remember most is that a younger sister got mad at her older sister and called her “thunder thighs”. My immediate response was, “I wish I had thunder thighs!”

My relationship with my weight is neither simple nor complicated. But it is old, as old as I am in fact. I was a child who not only never put on any baby fat to lose, but also yearned to be more than skin and bones. I was so self-conscious about my lack of any weight that I could never have imagined weighing 325 pounds as an adult.

But I did.

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6 thoughts on “My Green Gables Moment

  1. I’ve thought about doing something other than fantasy as well; albeit for different reasons.

    I’m currently blessed by the fact I’m not working full time and don’t need to. So I have the time, and in theory the energy. My biggest struggle has been with the procrastination monster (which is detailed a bit on blog) and setting myself into some sort of regular writing schedule to begin with.

    I can’t remember if I ever actually posted this; but I think some of the reason the procrastination beast had such a hold was that, outside the context of NaNo’s ‘It’s OK to suck’ atmosphere, writing anything more serious than an off the cuff blog post is even more scary.

    All of a sudden, it’s not (as) OK to fail. Eep! Eventually of course just have to get over that and realise that even the best authors, for the most part, have shitty first (second and possibly third) drafts.

    Of course, the other reason procrastination was so powerful was a natural inclination toward laziness, but meh. 😛 Neither here nor there!

    Right, waffling, no, the reason I was actually contemplating something other than Fantasy — despite, like you, wanting this to be where I end up — was some advice from Brandon Sanderson. That the first 5 or so books you write are going to be terrible, almost without exception.

    That was simultaneously liberating and deflating, but I could see the sense in it.

    Until I came across Patrick Rothfuss whose first book ever written was The Name of the Wind. Granted… Took the guy 7 odd years to get it out in the state it is… And then another 4 years to get the second book (Wise Man’s Fear) out, but hey.

    So now I’m torn between the Rothfuss or the Sanderson philosophies. I’ve sort of hedged my bets now though I think, and decided that I’ll write fantasy, in the world I want it to be in even, but if it takes 5 books to shake the crap out of it, so be it! 😛

    1. I forgot to mention as well, despite not being a reader outside of fiction all that much, what you’ve posted works very well as a hook. ❤

      My only concern for it is that while the first sentence as is works on an intrigue level, it's not altogether clear which sister is whom (although second go over of it did clarify that) or whether your retort was that of a silly child or one of actual considered desire.

      The second paragraph does clarify that as well, it's just a bit jarring to stop and try consider what has been said without having the information necessary until a bit later.

      Of course, that all said, since this is for your family, it's probably an unnecessary concern. Clarity is good and all, but writing to your audience is also a great skill. 🙂

      1. Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss, two of my favorite authors right now! Of course, I really do think that Rothfuss is more of an exception to the rule. I don’t trust myself to count on doing as well on my very first go. I may not be getting ready to write what I really want to end up writing, but I know that by not writing, I have no opportunity to improve.

        Thanks for the feedback on what I’ve started with. I only just wrote that off the cuff today for the blog post. When I’m done with it all, if I consider publication, I will certainly revise it for a wider audience. 🙂

      2. Oh definitely. I didn’t mean to say that I thought I could get something out of the quality of Rothfuss — heck, most professional author’s can’t do that 😛 — rather it made me think about the philosophies of the approach to writing.

        On the one hand, you have an author (essentially) saying write things you don’t care about first because they’ll be crap anyway. The other contains a dude who says, ‘Screw that, write what you love and write it until it works’.

        Sanderson’s advise appeals to me on a pragmatic and ‘sensible’ level, but I can’t help but to be swept up in a certain romanticised idealism that Rothfuss’ idea holds as well.

        Given I couldn’t decide, ended up splitting it down the middle. 😛 Working on fantasy, in the world I love, yet still preparing for my first few to possibly not even be query-able let alone publishable.

  2. I was also one of those girls with an overactive metabolism. Weighed 150 at 5’9″ tall from high school until after college – yes, I did not put on the Freshman 15. Marriage, however, was the thing that started me gaining weight. Good food that my husband cooked, no longer active with my horseback riding, too much sedentary life at work and at home. WoW also did me in, and I am at the highest I’ve ever been, over 200 lbs (probably about 225 now), and this was after doing Weight Watchers when I first hit 200 and getting to Lifetime by dropping to 169 (though I really wanted to be 165).

    But I blew it all with the holiday season the year I hit Lifetime and never went back. It doesn’t help that my husband is also overweight (weighs nearly double me).

    So I can relate and would likely read your story about your struggle. I can’t say it would mirror mine, but I bet there would be a good amount of similarities. Were you one who said, when young, “I’d never go on a diet!” Yeah, I did that, a lot.

    The best advice I can give you about writing is to just write. Whatever you feel like, but most importantly, write when you don’t feel like it. I have an author friend (Elizabeth Bear) and she would give the same advice. It’s a job. And while jobs can be fun, they are also work. And getting into the habit and routine of writing will help you become one of those rare beasties: a published writer!

    Good luck!

    1. Thank you very much for your reply. I agree that there are likely similiarities between us. Nothing exact, but certainly things that we can relate to eachother on. If I ever do decide to try for publication, or even just post publicly, it would be to share my story with others who might draw insight, or even just support from knowing someone else has been there too.

      I definitely need to make a schedule to write. It’s too easy to decide that something else needs my time instead. Great advice!

      Thanks!

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