I recently became a member of ‘Sisters in Crime’, a service organization dedicated to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. And wouldn’t you know it, I had no sooner sent in a check, than I got a writing assignment – an invitation to participate in September’s SinC-up for bloggers. (www.sistersincrime.org/bloghop) So this week’s little missive actually will be about writing!
I would imagine that all writers are inspired by someone or something they have read – be it a childhood story that so stimulated the imagination that they embarked on wild adventures that they would later write about – or, perhaps, reading a gritty page-turner and realizing that that neighbor down the street who peers out the window with wild eyes through a crack in the curtain is a villain who needs a story.
And I am no exception. There are two authors to whom I’m grateful. The first is Harper Lee who wrote with such poetry that every time I read To Kill a Mockingbird I am once again totally immersed in her beautiful words. The sounds, the smells, the ‘feel’ of Maycomb become so real that I can’t put it down, even at the twentieth reading! I will never write such a book. I spent years trying to find a story in my heart that equaled it when I finally dawned on me that I didn’t need to. It’s been done – perfectly.
But, I also realized what was most important to me about To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee made me want to write. It took a while, but at the ripe old age of fifty-nine, I finally found stories that I can tell in my own voice – cozy little mysteries. They’re not great American novels, but they are fun, little books that can take you out of yourself for a few hours. And with the stressful lives we all live, I think they serve a valuable purpose.
The second author who inspired me greatly was the one who actually gave me a kick start to write Roses and Daisies and Death, Oh My. Her name shall remain unrevealed for two reasons. The first reason is that I’ve forgotten it.
The second reason (and the reason I’ve forgotten it) is that the book she had written was so bad that I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I complained loudly that “apparently anyone could get published and I wonder who she slept with to do so” or words to that effect. My charming husband, Tom, then said, “Well, why don’t you write one yourself?” And a book was born.
So thank you Miss Lee and Miss Unmemorable for the inspiration to craft words and the incentive to begin the process.