I Am Not Necessarily Me

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I use first person narrator in many of my stories.  I find the level of intimacy I can connect with in the character makes the experience feel more authentic.

I also enjoy the unreliability of the first person narrator. Although I don’t intend to make my main characters questionable, all first person accounts must be met with skepticism.

There’s one possible downside to the first person narrator and I’m certain many writers have experienced the fan who believes they understand the author based on a story which utilized the “I”.

dadshiningOne reader contacted me convinced Dad Shining was about me. “This is a true story, I bet!” He wrote.

This is complimentary in the fact that the story must have been realistic enough for this reader to believe and enjoy it.

However, Dad Shining (originally published in The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal) is written from a male point of view experiencing a life event incomparable to what a woman could experience.

There’s not much a writer can do about being mistaken for their narrator except to gently correct the reader without offending them or merely thank them. I said, “thank you for reading.”

My main character in West End is a young woman, and I did use an area close to where I grew up. A number of readers have attempted to call me out on that. One reader wrote, “I know most of this is you, except for the part of leaving the boy.” Another reader, convinced it was me believed I’d been married before and left them to change my name and start a new life incognito.

This did bother me to some extent; the woman in West End is in some ways stuck in west end coverlife, and while that might be my fear, it is not me.

Still others found the first person narrator unreliable enough to question her sanity and ask me if she was seeing spirits. These questions I rather enjoyed. One character I had intended to be questionable, but when asked about another – I don’t want to say as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone! – I was blown away!

And that is the benefit and, perhaps, curse of first person narrator. The connection is so authentically intimate that you might convince readers it’s you; And you might just convince them the narrator is a little off her rocker!

Grandma’s Secret Revealed!

When Grandma asks you to do something –

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You do it!

So when Grandma asked Katie to “take care of something” and “don’t tell anyone,” she barely hesitated. She had to get on a plane in the middle of the night and go to a storage unit……

What had Grandma kept hidden for 60 some years?

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If you’d like to know… You’ll have to open this Top Secret File at Pilcrow & Dagger.

Random facts stalkers don’t know…

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I grew up in a tough neighborhood. (don’t stereotype me)

I was in a band. (for about 5 minutes)

I was in a few movies. (another 5 minutes)

I wrote my first “novel”at the age of 11. (an angst ridden piece about a girl who is kidnapped because she witnessed a crime)

I was actually kidnapped. (not at 11/that story is waiting for publication)

I always have wanted to own a Munster-like house.

I’ve gotten lost in every major city I’ve ever been (including abroad. Trust me when I say every country/every city has neighborhoods you don’t want to be lost in at dusk)

I keep a lot of random facts as well as insignificant details in my brain. (jokes don’t stick tho)

now the stalkers know – don’t be a stalker….

Mother’s Day is a Celebration of Life

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My grandmother, Ruth, on my father’s side, died before I was born. I never knew her. I’m told she lived in Los Angeles for some time; perhaps that is why I feel so at home here. When I arrived here so many years ago, I felt like I was coming home.

My grandmother, Mary, aka Amelia, passed less than a year ago. A week after she passed, I received the notification from Pilcrow & Dagger they were publishing the poem I’d written years before, inspired by her visit to L.A.  My grandmother used to write poetry – she left me her book of poems; it is a treasure!

My mother lives in Ohio.  She made the best cookies – still does!  Mom – send me some! J

Then there’s me –  Not to be cliché, but my life started when I had my daughters. It’s when I got serious about life, when I formed real ideas about priorities, when I started thinking of people other than myself.

 

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My girls and myself

 

 

Grandma’s Tour

 

 

It’s Christmas day.

She wants to see where she thinks

Marilyn’s body lies.

She doesn’t understand the tomb in a wall,

a name on a plaque.

She wants to touch the same dirt

Marilyn’s body touches.

 

 

I show her Jack Lemmon’s

“In” –

She wants to see the thirteen year old

from Poltergeist.

Another plaque on the wall.

 

 

Grandma is flustered,

she doesn’t want to be encased in eye-level marble,

an uncertain burial, she wants to rot

in the dirt, she says,

the natural way.

 

 

It’s Christmas day and my daughters

want to know why we’re at a graveyard.

My little one is writing down names

and dates,

an attempt to, once again, give the long dead

significance.

The older one won’t come close

She uneases herself along the edges of

the grass, the crypts,

the fresh dirt.

Unwilling to let the dead touch.

She’s taken an impromptu dislike to grandma

 

 

who is weeping.

It’s Christmas day and she expected

the movie stars to rot in the dirt,

like she will, she says,

but even in death, they are distinct.