Love a Good Story – Saturday and Elizabeth Strout

 

I Love a Good Story. Don’t you Love a Good Story? I hope you Love a Good Story. I want to tell you a story about what happened to me Saturday.

Saturday, I did a book signing at the Cricket Bookshop in Ashton, Maryland. If you have never been to Cricket, please go!! You are in for the biggest treat of your life.

During the book signing, a lady asked me what my story was about. The day before, I reviewed what I would say in the event someone asked me that question. But Saturday, when I began to respond with my practiced piece (the one on the book) I surprised myself with: “I want those who read it to see that my story has several themes. One theme I want people to see is that when one family member does something that is against the practices of the family, that something impacts the entire family and may cause the family members to make an unwelcome change in their lives. Out of love for the family member, the others lie, ignore the facts, and the truth to cover up the action. In Blessings and Curses, Olivia’s sister gives up her entire life to help hide her sister’s secret.

The other thing I want readers to see is how we can all be so different, even though we seek the same thing. I finished Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton and found her character, Lucy Barton, a little sad. I’m an Elizabeth Strout fan and have read all of her books. After I read this story, I turned to my novel, Blessings and Curses, and thought about my character, Olivia Douglass. In My Name is Lucy Barton, Lucy seemed to want more, but she didn’t make a concerted effort to obtain more for herself. She reminded me of a river where the river takes you wherever it wants. In Blessings and Curses, Olivia Douglass sees herself letting life dictate to her who she would be, and what she would be. But, Olivia, realizing the strength and power that she has and out of her sense of responsibility for others, decides that she will not allow life to say who she is. She finds it in herself to become the person she wants to be. Like Lucy Barton, I was led by what others thought I should be in my early life. As I look around me, I see many women who seem to drift along allowing whatever to take them over and lead them. Perhaps this is how all women begin their lives until someone tells them that they must have desires and ideas and goals, and they must strive to reach these goals. Many women have been sexually abused and think that sex is all they are good for. That isn’t true, but they believe that and remake themselves to fit that untruth.

I wanted to create a strong female character, one who sees herself being led by how society would think about a woman, especially given her background, but I wanted a character who decides that she is in control of her life, and she will not allow anyone but her to determine who she is. I think I did that.

Who do you see when you read the story?

 

 

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