Monday, November 2, 2009

Modern . . . Role Models

Is it totally pathetic that I wish I could be my character? It's not that she's got it all together. And I don't want to look like her (not that it would be a bad thing, but I'm content being her physical opposite;-). I don't particularly want to be in her exact situation. But man, I wish I could be that kind of mom! (And living at her home in the Outer Banks would be totally sweet, too!)

It's kind of funny. When I was writing Yesterday's Tides, I'd just graduated college and was enjoying the freedom of having no classes, no job, and endless writing time. That lasted, oh, a month. At which point I started saying, "So . . . can we get insurance yet so we can get pregnant? Please? Please?" Those maternal instincts roared especially loud when my sister had her first baby that summer. So maybe I just had kids and motherhood on the mind when I wrote my super-mom, Louisa. But as I reread the book to prepare it for conference, I had to sigh. And wish, oh wish, I could be as patient as Louisa with my precious kiddos.

I really tried to be realistic when writing her. She isn't perfect, certainly. She loses her temper, she doles out discipline--but her whole goal is to be a good mother. That's her life's calling, and she does it with her whole heart. I have the added goal of being a good writer, so my time's a little more divided . . . but still.

There are moments, when I'm outside with my kids, when I can shift my focus and see the world through her eyes. I love those moments. That's when things seem to fall into order. Do chores wait inside? Well, I'll just go do them and then they'll be done. But first I'll spend some time with my kids. I'll laugh at their antics. I'll enjoy their perspective. Maybe I can't do it all, but I can do what matters.

Then my husband needs help with something, the phone rings, I see twenty emails that need responses, one of which requires edits in a manuscript, I smell a stinky diaper, my daughter starts screaming that her brother's hitting her, my mother-in-law pulls up the driveway needing who-knows-what, I realize it's yet again dinner time and I have nothing prepared, and my son starts trying to climb up my leg. Hello, headache!

This is why Louisa's story starts when the kids are eight. =) Sure, that age has its own difficulties, but at least I didn't have to write around the constant kiddo on her hip. LOL.

Most of my characters have some part of me in them. Davina has my quirkiness, Melrose my sense of humor. Brook has my stubbornness, Ella my optimism. But Louisa . . . Louisa has my heart. Or at least, what I want my heart to be. And every time I get involved in Yesterday's Tides I think, "Somewhere inside, I have a Louisa." It inevitably inspires me to try to let her shine through.

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