Thursday, June 13, 2013


Yes, hormones.  And now I must apologize to all the erotica folk out there, because I don't mean those kind of hormones...I mean the type of hormones which come after...Oh, just keep reading and you'll see what I mean.

Your assignment today is to read this poem.  Yes, I'm forcing you.  Don't worry.  I didn't write it.  But I did highlight my favorite parts (like a high school girl would).  Now read it before I get ornery.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
© Max Ehrmann 1927

I'm not sure whether Max Ehrmann would approve, but ever since I began my "first" novel (we're not going to talk about that embarrassing one I wrote back in high school), my dream title has been Desiderata.  I even quote "the world is full of trickery" on the cover page. 

If I'm so inspired by Mr. Ehrmann, I suppose my book should contain poetry.  Instead it's a fairy tale--in three parts.  The first book is written and (I think) ready to query...but I just got a few new beta reader offers, so I'm taking them up on it.  I may kick myself later, but that's okay--I've been working on my flexibility.  The second book is written but needs heavy revisions.  The third only has an outline and a few initial chapters done. 

And now...why I wrote it...

When I was pregnant with my firstborn, a son, I didn't think of myself as a writer.  I hadn't written much since college (except for some not-so-nice cartoons in vet school where I made fun of things that bugged me and one poem called Histo Hell about the Histology class I struggled in).  Soon after his birth, two college friends planned a visit.  That morning, one of them called saying her child had come down with something her doctor thought maybe was or maybe wasn't the chicken pox.

Aggressive maternal instinct set in.  "Don't you come near my son!" I growled into the phone.  Now I'm sure I was more polite than that, but my complete refusal to see her shocked both of us.  Overnight my oxytocin had transformed me into a mother bear. 

I'd never acted or felt like that before.  I spent many hours of my maternity leave pondering the abrupt change in my psyche as I pushed my son in the stroller, trying to shed my hulkish form.  (Let me give you some advice:  don't gain 50 pounds when you're 5'2" and pregnant.  It's not fun at all.)  Hormones swirled and surged.  I began to fantasize about danger lurking behind every corner.

Obviously I needed some way of dealing with these feelings, and then letting them go.  To keep my sanity, I required a coping mechanism.

It came in the form of a story, a fairy tale of somewhere far away and a long, long time ago...

Bieze artwork and dream cover of Book Two

A medicine woman who lived in a cave encountered the son she no longer remembered as her own.  As she struggled to save his life, a possession she pulled from his pocket tugged on her long lost memories.

But that scene isn't even in the first book.  It doesn't happen until halfway into the second.  So I had to build the world up to this revelation. 

I knew a mother would endure anything to protect her son from danger, especially if the threat was in her own home.  And so, poor Maria Leon, how I've made you suffer.  (I totally blame the hormones.)

If I ever finish writing the third book, brave Maria will finally get her just rewards.  (Sort of cruel to make her wait that long, I suppose...)

The question is:  do your hormones make you write?  And, if so, it is publishable?  (wink, wink)

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