Writing My Way Out of a Dark Place
A guest post by Bridget Straub.
Two years ago, I was in a very dark place. We had lost our house and were living in a dull apartment that bordered an alley. An alley that had its share of rumbling trucks, grumbling homeless, and on one awful night, a gang shooting. You are probably now imagining a far worse neighborhood than it actually was. In truth, it was right in the middle of the San Fernando Valley. Money, as always, was incredibly tight and I was deeply depressed. Our photography business, that had always sustained us in the past, was now a luxury that people couldn’t afford, or with all the new technology, were just doing themselves. I didn’t know what to do to change my situation.
In times like this music has always been my savior, and on this particular day I was listening to a song, “The Moment” written by my friend Laura Hall. It is a beautiful song about how what appears to be an ordinary moment can instead be a defining moment. I really needed a defining moment, and little did I know that I was about to have it.
I began writing a story about a woman struggling to make sense of her life and her relationships with those she loved most. In three short days, I wrote a novel entitled “Searching for My Wand”. I read it to my sister who loved it, and then I nervously allowed Laura to read it. I waited anxiously to see what she would have to say, and while I waited I began writing another book, “If By Chance”. Much to my relief and delight, Laura had only nice things to say about “Searching for My Wand”. A few weeks later she even suggested we write a musical together, and we did!
I have not stopped writing since. Not only did we go on to write “Room to Grow”, our musical, but I have completed “If By Chance”, almost completed a sequel to “If By Chance”, completed two more novels, “Fingers Crossed”, and “On a Hot August Afternoon,” and I am 49,939 words into “The Salacious Marny Ottwiler”. I love all of these books and can’t wait to share them, which is why I have decided to go the self-publishing route. I don’t want to wait years and years for these stories to see the light of day, and with traditional publishing, that’s how long it would take.
I love writing. I have done it all of my life, but in the past couple of years things have changed and I’ve become better at allowing my characters to write themselves. I no longer fight the direction a story is going in because it’s not the direction I had assumed it would take. I now enjoy the journey that much more because it’s always filled with surprises.
As for that dark place that I was in two years ago, I have moved on. With a lot of help, I have been able to move to a much brighter apartment, and with renewed determination I have rediscovered hope. We’re still broke, the photography business is still evolving and changing, but we are doing our best to adjust. I am publishing “Searching for My Wand” and will do everything in my power to get it seen and read by as many people as possible. Laura and I will look for ways to produce “Room to Grow”, and with any luck at all, the New Year will bring some exciting changes to our lives. In the meantime, my kids are healthy, we have a roof over our heads and we are surrounded by family and friends, so I am feeling very lucky. “Searching for My Wand” should be available for purchase through Amazon, B&N, Sony, Apple, etc. on December 15, 2011.
Bridget Straub (author, lyricist) has written four novels, has her own blog at bridgetstraub.com and is the co-auther of the musical Room to Grow with Laura Hall. Bridget’s first novel Searching for My Wand will be published in Dec. 2011.