Reverie

In non-response to the daily prompt, which held no interest for me today, here’s a story I’ve been thinking about developing.

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“Write about what you know,” came the sage wisdom of experienced writers.

Well, good grief.  What did Ellie know?  Growing up in a preacher’s family wasn’t all that unique.  Being poor wasn’t, either.  Having parents who learned how to scratch and scrimp was pretty common for the baby-boomer generation. Some of those boomers, like Ellie herself, had applied a lot of what she learned from her Depression-era parents, and she and Trevor had managed to make a pretty good life for their family without ever becoming well-to-do.

There were lots of nevers in Ellie’s life.  Never been divorced.  Never had an affair. Never even been unfaithful in her thoughts. Never lost a child to illness or accident.  Never had a miscarriage. Never touched alcohol, never smoked a cigarette. Never watched porn, even after the computer era brought it right to her fingertips. Never ran away from home, never touched illegal drugs or got addicted to legal ones. Never had sex before marriage.

So what  was there about her life, and her experiences, that would make an interesting read for people who were used to watching the most horrifying violence in movies and on TV?  What could she write about love and romance that would appeal to people  who treated sex like  a casual event, and indoor sport?  What could she write about childrearing when her own kids had all turned out to be  normal, law-abiding citizens rearing their own families the same way she and Trev had done it?

Who wanted to read about people she knew?  People who went to church, believed in God, loved their country, and lived their lives the old-fashioned way—God, home, and country?

Wouldn’t they rather read about horrific murders, the evil minds of sociopaths who had no conscience, the sexual escapades of men and women who were physically beautiful but had no moral compass?  Look at the popularity of those Fifty Shades books!  Why, even some of her own friends claimed to enjoy the books and get all hot and bothered by the sexual violence they portrayed.

As Ellie sat quietly in her living room, hands busy with the afghan she was knitting, quiet music filling the room, she wondered why she had this strong urge to write when it seemed to her that she really had nothing to write about.   Nothing new, nothing sensational, nothing that hadn’t already been written to death by hundreds of other wannabe authors.

Write about what you know.  Hmph. “I know about being a normal girl, with hopes and dreams; making dumb choices, making embarrassing mistakes, floundering through the process of falling in and out of love; learning to curb my impulses, tame my tart tongue, train my temper.  I knew abour rearing normal kids.  Well, they’d all been amazingly smart. I never had the homework struggle that a lot of my friends did, because my own brood just didn’t need much help.  That had been a blessing, especially during the years I’d been a teacher in their school. “

She knew about hard work. Plenty about that. She was grateful for these senior years of relative peace, calm, and quiet. These years weren’t nearly as labor-intensive as her forties and even fifties had been.

She knew about going back to school at the advanced age of 50, competing with students half her age.  She knew about being a psychotherapist, and she knew about being thankful for how normal her own life had been compared to that of a lot of her clients.

She knew about pain, both physical and emotional. She understood suffering.  She was glad she’d started the counseling career after she’d been around the block a few times.

Still, was there really an interesting story in all of that?  In any of it?

Ellie’s eyelids slid cosed, her head nodding off to one side and her hands going still.  Her thoughts had opened lots of windows on memories long past, and her afternoon dream took her through one of those windows. Transported back in time, she found herself riding in the back seat of her dad’s 1955 Chevy, legs and feet pushing and shoving against her sister’s to keep a few inches of leg room as they drove through what seemed like endless miles of nothing.

Oh, yes, now there was a story.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/humble-pie/

 

 

6 thoughts on “Reverie

  1. Ah, what a peaceful life! I ask myself the same questions: what do people want to read and is it actually worth writing about? A look at Amazon tells me something about what people want to read. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo this month and I see what young people are writing about. But what will my own conscience let me write about?

    My sister called me up one night, after she’d had a few, and wanted me to writer her life story. Now that would sell. The home life those kids had, the pervert next door, a shotgun wedding at age fifteen. Domestic violence and abuse, constant cheating, alcoholism, divorced at 21. A number of men since, joining Al-Anon. Her and her Higher Power. All three sons in trouble with the law; her daughter dying of cancer at age 16.

    Yes, her story would sell — and in a way I’d like to write it. She’s my sister and I do love her, plus I share a small part of her story. But the one thing holding me back is I can’t lift out an “aha” moment — a time where she sees the light and makes a turn in the right direction. At least quits drinking. Without that point, where’s the value? Guess I’m old-fashioned, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is surely a story about why you turned out as you did, and she turned out as she did. My mom had an alcoholic sister who died in a nursing home before she was 50. Another was married to an alcoholic for 50 years, and lived a very hard life. And the third was married five time! So why did my mom turn out as she did? Stories, stories everywhere 🙂

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      1. I didn’t marry a cheating, wife-beating drunk. Mind you, I did ask God to help me with my decision on who to marry. A lot of the difference between us hinges on those two factors. Had I married a guy like hers, God knows where I’d be today.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post! It does give you something to think about. Everyone has a story and they often think that it is not interesting to others, however, it is amazing how interesting it Can be to others. And, most of the time part of it they can relate to and then it really becomes interesting to realize that you are not alone in the type of things you experience in life.

    Liked by 1 person

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