Friday, May 30, 2014

Reinventing Yourself

So, hi again. Allow me to reintroduce myself. I'm a HS TA to (rabbit) farm worker to waitress/bartender to rock band roadie to college TA to vet tech to bookstore manager to insurance call center CSR to dog groomer + wife & mother + avid fantasy & romance reader = fantasy romance author....and dog groomer. Nice to meet you. And you are?

Everyone has taken a different road from where you were (a kid) to where you are now (an adult if you're reading this blog, unless you lied to Google). How many times have you reinvented yourself? What's your life's road map look like?

This past month I've been out of town in dog grooming academy. I graduate today, and move on to a 100-dog apprenticeship to become certified. An apprentice at my age...*cough cough* Left my poor husband to cope with two teenagers, three cats, a dog, a horse (who had a medical emergency a week ago) and a fish. Also a birthday slumber party, three school concerts, two Conservatory concerts, a field trip and a HS graduation that my son had to attend even though he's still just a sophomore. I got to stay with a complete stranger who was young enough to be my daughter in a hotel that DOESN'T have a free breakfast and listen to my instructor diss Chow Chows for 4 weeks (I have a Chow Chow and I think they're amazing). We had such scintillating conversations about whether cut Springer or Schnauzer hair prickles worse and why Goldendoodles will never become an official recognized breed and why Scotties are the one dog you NEVER want to have bite you (their teeth are oversized and they bite with more force than a Rottweiler). This chick who's always been all thumbs can now line brush and pin brush and do body contours and hand scissor with the best of them...the newbies, that is. I learned that if your clipper blade falls apart while you're cleaning it (I broke it in half and sent one piece flying across the room) it's not the end of the world but if you drop your thinners it IS. Plastic clipper combs cut longer than metal clipper combs marked as the exact same length. (Still can't figure that one out.) And Petsmart grooming smocks' plastic zippers melt into nonfunctionality in really hot commercial dryers. *sigh*

It's all experience, and is worth it's weight in gold to a writer. We're told to write what we know, so it stands to reason the more we know the more we have to write about. Whether the good, the bad or the ugly - it's all shaped who we are, how we view the world, what we think of ourselves and what we have to contribute to any given conversation. If we lived under a rock and never saw and did anything - how boring would THAT be? Every change is terrifying and invigorating as we challenge ourselves to become more than we were and teach ourselves that we can be more than we were. Courage is facing the fears and making a change into an opportunity.

As a writer I love to dissect characters in books and movies. I watched Serenity last night (I'm a huge Firefly fan) and Capt. Malcom Reynolds (played by Nathan Fillian lately of Castle fame) is a prime example. Rancher to soldier (on the losing side of a war) to pirate? Now there's a rough life journey that would definitely color your world view! Or take Eragon, which I watched just before Serenity. Eragon was a simple farm boy turned dragon rider turned freedom fighter. He grew up in a hurry!

The best stories are the ones in which characters grow and change, become more than they ever thought they'd be and risk themselves to make their worlds better places. The people writing those stories can do so because they've gone through similar emotions during radical life changes. Career changes. Family changes. Personal drama that may or may not make 48 Hours or Judge Judy. Writers mine stuff like that to provide stories people can relate to. Characters can be your best friend...or frienemy. They can make you appreciate where you are and what you've got. No one has the same exact journey, but we all share human emotions and what sociologists call the human experience.

Take a look back at where you've been and what you've gone through, think about how you've grown...and maybe where you want to be. Don't overlook an opportunity...take a chance on a new adventure. You'll never know if it's better than what you currently have unless you go go for it. And things that don't work out are always learning experiences. Embrace and enjoy your life, in all it's weirdness and inconvenience and craziness. It's truly unique, yours alone.

1 comment:

Tina Donahue said...

Wow, Renee, you've had an interesting life. I agree with you about characters being interesting when they change. I watch Suits, and one of the characters (Louis/Lewis?) started out as a turd, but had grown some humanity. Very interesting to watch. :)