Sometimes, I wish I could write light and fluffy stories. You know, the kind I could show my 84 year-old mother without worrying about her health. Writing that could be described as “heart-warming, uplifting, inspirational” simply eludes me. My first novel started life as traditional romance … then, morphed into supernatural horror.
My 11th grade English teacher scheduled a conference with me because he was concerned about my well-being. He had read through the work kept in my department file (who knew?) and detected a theme—the subject of nearly every story and poem was death. (My rewrite of “The Cask of Amontillado” from Fortunato’s point of view was delicious and earned me an A+.) The teacher inquired about my life, seeking to find the cause of such preoccupation with the dark side. Respectfully, and with my usual fear and trembling displayed toward authority figures, I laughed it off. “It’s just easier to write about that stuff,” I told him.
I grew up poor, but certainly not Angela’s Ashes poor. I was loved. I was safe. I was happy. I’ve had my fair share of stresses throughout my life, maybe a little more than some, but I think I’m also a little happier than most. You know, like those California cows?
And I appreciate the sunny side—really, I do—but for some reason, I just can’t put it in writing.