WHEN LIFE IS TOUGH
Finding The Will To Write
Kristi Gold © 2002
In mid-July of 2000, my first Silhouette Desire, Cowboy for Keeps, hit the shelves. That same week, my father passed away after a battle with cancer. Needless to say, it was a bittersweet time full of conflicting emotions. The last thing I cared to do was write, but I was charged with composing my father's eulogy. He was very complex, not always easy to peg and I frankly wasn't sure I could do it, but I knew I had to try. I relied heavily on my memories-and my creativity-to paint a portrait of the man that I remembered, the one who would tickle me silly, who could make yeast rolls best described as totally sinful, who could train a dog to jump through his arms or over a mop handle with only a simple command. A man who delighted in telling stories. I suppose you could say that writing down my thoughts was cathartic. But after the initial sorrow and grief eased, I was faced with going back to the real world and my work in progress.
I got through this period by recalling something my dad said to me shortly before he died. He told me he was very proud of me and that he had two regrets: he would never be able to go dancing again (he was quite the consummate Texas two-stepper) and that he'd never written down the stories he'd wanted to tell. I encouraged him to begin now by writing in a journal; it was never too late. Unfortunately, he entered the hospital the day after that and never had the chance. Knowing what I knew-that he had missed a valuable opportunity-drove me back to the computer. I refused to have any regrets when it came to my career. I suppose in some ways I was determined to keep fulfilling my own dreams and his as well.
When I did go back to my book, I took those roller-coaster emotions and used them in my prose. This is not to say I resorted to being maudlin. In fact, what I was working on at the time involved a lot of humor. But my dad had made me laugh on more than one occasion, so I kept that fresh in my mind.
When life throws unexpected curves, a writer can stop cold. It's not writer's block; it's emotional block. As an author, if you are faced with a crisis-and heaven knows there are many kinds-my best advice is to give yourself some time. When you're ready to go back, take some of what you've learned with you. Be kind to yourself, don't expect too much at first, but remember that loss and the proverbial ups and downs are all a part of living. Romance is all about emotion, but most important, it's all about love. And we all know what a wonderful, healing power love can provide. Revel in that power and use it as a soothing balm to your soul. Life does go on. Cherish every moment.- k.g.
This article is dedicated to my dad, A.J., with love.